Former Scone Thoroughbreds player Lachlan Walmsley has made his international rugby league debut for Scotland in a game against Jamaica on Sunday, October 24.
Walmsley was named in the starting lineup as Scotland's 'Bravehearts' played out a 30-30 draw against the 'Reggae Warriors' in Featherstone, the first ever test between the two nations.
Jamaica scored six tries to five, but Walmsley kicked all five of his conversion attempts whereas Jamaican scrum-half Izaac Farrel could only convert three, leaving the scores tied at full-time.
Speaking to The Scone Advocate ahead of the match, Walmsley said making his debut for Scotland was a great feeling after a breakout 2021 season in the UK.
"It's been a good year that's turned out pretty lucky," said Walmsley.
"The main goal coming over here was to make the Scotland side for the world cup and luckily I've had a great year with Whitehaven and made the squad."
After changes to international eligibility rules led to improved performances from Tonga and Lebanon at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, Walmsley said he was excited about the future of the international game.
"I think that's what international rugby league needed," Walmsley said of the eligibility rule changes.
"It obviously needs the best players in the world and the best competition in the world is the NRL.
"There's a high quality of players over in Australia, but I think anyone that's got heritage, whether it be Scotland or Lebanon, everyone wants to represent their family in some way and everyone that can do that would love to represent their country as well so it'll go a long way for international rugby league the sport in general."
As he looks ahead to a season of opportunities in 2022, Walmsley paid tribute to his coaches at the Thoroughbreds and South Newcastle who had helped him on his journey from Merriwa to the Scotland national side.
"Darryl Rando played a big part in developing me as a young player and without him I wouldn't be here and so did Ben Cross, when I went to South Newcastle," Walmsley said.
"Those two coaches were the main reason I'm where I am today, they gave me my chance."
Walmsley also thanked former club Whitehaven RLFC for giving him his first opportunity in the UK.
"Without (Whitehaven) giving me a chance this year I wouldn't have made the Scotland side," he said.
When asked what advice he had for young footballers across the Upper Hunter who might dream of following in his footsteps, Walmsley encouraged them to back themselves and not to be afraid to take a leap overseas.
"No one's going to be upset with you for giving it a go traveling overseas or whether you move to Newcastle or Sydney or wherever," Walmsley said.
"Just go for it. As long as you're able to get a job and able to back yourself and prove that you're good enough then absolutely go for it."
Walmsley will next year make the move to West Yorkshire after signing for the Halifax Panthers in the Betfred Championship, and the Merriwa-born Australian said he was looking forward to the challenges ahead in the 2022 season.
"I always like to get myself out there and give myself a new challenge," he said.
"To be able to join the Halifax Panthers, they've seen the way I play and they've recruited a lot of new players and we're all just excited to get the ball rolling.
"There's a bit of a buzz going around (at the club) and I'm excited to get there and get going."