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Luke Brooks believes he was destined to play for Wests Tigers.

The 18-year-old half-back is one of the clubs brightest prospects and despite only playing SG Ball for Balmain last year, has already impressed NRL Head Coach Mick Potter with his skills and work ethic in his first pre-season outside of schoolboy football.

A proud Balmain junior, Brooks recalls being taken to Leichhardt Oval with his family and sitting on the famous hill cheering on the Tigers and later, the Wests Tigers, where his idol was Benji Marshall.

Brooks now finds himself training alongside the Kiwi Test captain.

I went to the 2005 Grand Final. Benji was on fire that night, Brooks said.

Even from a young age, I knew I wanted to be a rugby league player with the Tigers. To train with Benji and the Wests Tigers NRL squad means everything to me.

Brooks no relation to former Balmain Tigers forward David Brooks recalls the shock to his system when he arrived in Wyong for his first senior training camp. Over four days, Potter and his staff put players through intensive boxing, wrestling, and kayaking, weights and fitness sessions.

It was a good experience as I like to challenge myself. It makes you feel better and stronger. The players have been really supportive, especially Benji. I had never met him before we started training together. Benji has told me to talk more on the field and to demand the ball.

Im working on this but it a little intimidating telling people who have played over 100 first grade games what to do. But as Benji says, if I dont tell them, Im not doing my job.

Aware he will develop his trade in the NYC under premiership winning Coach Todd Payten, Brooks is determined to make every opportunity count in next months trials and then leave the decisions to Potter.

When I play NYC, I know I need to bring what Ive learnt from training with the NRL boys down to the 20s. They will look to me as a leader and I need to be, Brooks said.

I just want to give it my all irrespective of what grade I play. I still go home after training each day and pinch myself that Im here.


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