HE is only halfway through his second season of rugby union, but the talent that CSU’s Lachlan Buckton has for the sport has been noticed by New South Wales Country Cockatoos selectors.
They liked what they saw from hard-hitting forward when he played for Central West’s Colts at this year’s Country Championships and were further impressed by him at a NSW Country training camp.
So when it came time to name the Cockatoos Colts squad which will take on the NSW Gen Blue outfit at Camden on June 17, the selectors were happy to have Buckton’s name on the list.
“I was speechless, I couldn’t believe it to be honest,” Buckton said.
The 19-year-old’s surprise stems from the fact he is only new to the sport and that prior to earning a Central West Colts jumper earlier this season, had never previously played at level higher than club rugby for CSU.
“Last year was actually my first year of union. I’d played a couple of years of league before that, that was about it,” the Central Coast native said.
“I had a few mates who I was living with and they played union for the uni, so I thought I might as well go along and play with them.”
Buckton played his first year with CSU in 2017 in the Blowes Clothing Cup under coach Scott Hatch. It was that same man who encouraged him to trial for the Central West team.
“Scott Hatch just told me to come down and give it a go and I impressed the coaches, so I was pretty excited about that,” Buckton said.
“It was another step up definitely, I’d never really played at that level before. It was good to get experience, but I really didn’t think I’d get picked in the country team though.”
Despite moving from the second row – where he plays a majority of his club rugby – to prop for Central West, Buckton did enough to be named in the 30-man NSW Country Colts training squad.
From there he attended a camp which gave selectors another look at the players before they named their final 23-man NSW Country Colts squad.
Once again Buckton had no great expectations, he was simply hoping to learn things which would improve his club performances. But once again he impressed.
“We had a training camp in Singleton, that was an all-day sort of thing. We went through the different plays they want to run, different structures and stuff like that,” Buckton said.
“They looked at our attack and defence and how we worked together.
“To be honest, I didn’t really mind if I didn’t get picked because I hadn’t played at that level. I thought it was just a good experience and take it back to club footy. So I didn’t really think too much about it before I got the call up … I was pretty ecstatic.
“It will be good to get some more experience and if it takes me further, it takes me further, if it doesn’t well I still enjoy playing club footy.
“I still tackle a bit high and run a bit high, they’re probably the two things I’ve really got to work on the most.”
Buckton was one seven Central West players to make the cut. Dubbo Kangaroos duo Pat Berryman and Josh Jasprizza, Orange City trio Nick Fisher, Hayden Goodall and Hayden Leopold, plus Orange Emus’ Sam Greatbach join him in the squad.