BATHURST brothers Adam and Brad Fearnley are no strangers to representative rugby league, but tonight they will share a special moment when they line up for Federation Rugby League Italia Australia sides in matches against Group 10 at Lithgow.
It marks the first time that Adam (under 16s) and Brad (under 15s) will be representing their Italian heritage on the football field. That they get to do so against their own Group 10 teams makes it even more exciting for them.
It will be a big evening of football, with nine other Bathurst juniors set to wear Group 10 jumpers.
Following Adam’s victory as part of the Group 10 under 16s outfit at the recent Harmony Cup – where players had to declare their heritage – the brothers were asked if they would like to jump across to the Italian squad for tonight’s matches.
The Fearnleys boast an Italian link through their grandmother Anna La Torracca, who will be one of their biggest supporters on the sidelines tonight.
Their father John Fearnley could not be prouder to see the duo don the Italian colours for the first time.
“It’s a really good way for them to appreciate their grandmother’s heritage. I know their grandmother is going to be very proud of them watching on Friday night,” he said.
“My grandfather came out for two years to work here and when he was set up, he brought his family out when my mum was six years of age.”
Having always been reminded of their heritage, Adam said he will cherish the experience.
“I think it will be a really good experience for us to be able to play with the Italian team, knowing our grandmother is full Italian, and she told us that she’d really like us to do it ... and we’ve always been in touch with our heritage when we‘ve been over to our grandmother’s place,” he said.
“We took the opportunity when we got it. It’s great for both of us to be able to be a part of these squads coming through here.
“I think it’ll be rewarding to come out and play alongside blokes we haven’t played with before. Hopefully we gel together nicely.”
Five-eighth Adam is expected to play a leading role for the Italian side given he was the player of the tournament at the recent Harmony Cup. He was also captain of the victorious Group 10 under 16s side.
The younger of the siblings, Brad will face a stern test not only because he will play alongside unfamiliar faces, but because he will step up an age group to contest the under 15s match.
“It should be a good challenge. It will also be good to be amongst some new blokes in the Italian team,” Brad said.
“I don’t know any other the players, so it’s definitely going to be interesting playing alongside all these blokes I haven’t played with before.
“It’s great having the chance to go out there and get stuck into your mates as well.”
Tonight’s under 15s match starts at 6pm with the 16s beginning an hour later at Tony Luchetti Oval.