Persistence pays off – just ask Adam Pryde.
In somewhat of a breakthrough year, the 25-year-old will debut for the Queensland Men’s Open team in the 2018 State of Origin series – a remarkable achievement given he also made his Men’s Open debut for Australia in April.
Following a strong season with the Titans in the inaugural NRL Touch Premiership, Pryde is now looking forward to what he describes as his proudest touch football moment yet.
“Representing my state, being a very proud Queenslander, it’s the pinnacle of the sport,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play 20s and a couple of Mixed Open campaigns, but to play the Men’s is right up there with making the Australian Men’s team for the first time this year too – two massive achievements to tick off.”
He is hesitant to define what may have been the difference this time around for his emergence into the Men’s Open team, but says his ambition never wavered.
“I just kept persisting – it might have been positional or I might have just been behind the pecking order,” he said.
“Being part of this Queensland team, we’ve all got different roles and responsibilities, and for me it’s just about being able to do my role as a middle player in the team and fitting in with what the team needs best.”
“I’m very passionate when it comes to State of Origin. We’ve got a good group together and I’m really keen to just get stuck in and compete. Representing your state is the pinnacle right up there with representing your country, and to do it on home soil is going to be something really special.”
While his playing commitments have increased significantly with the introduction of the Premiership, and this being an Origin year, Pryde remarkably still finds time to give back to the next generation of players.
“Being a teacher at Cleveland (State High) and running the touch program there, I enjoy being able to pass on some of the things that I’ve learnt over the years,” he said.
“Playing in the Titans, Queensland and Australian men’s teams, you get some of the best coaches in the game, and being able to pass on some of the things I learn from them to kids who are genuinely keen to learn and who love the sport – it’s a very rewarding feeling.”
Pryde started playing the sport himself as 12-year-old, in junior teams at Sheldon College and Redlands Touch Association, and went on to represent Redlands at Junior State Cup right through to the current senior teams.
“When I was a junior, the game seemed to be much more basic than it is now,” he said.
“The opportunities now are definitely helping the juniors coming through the game. As an elite player, it’s awesome to see. As a junior player it would have been a minuscule dream, and now to see it happening where we’re playing at these rugby league venues, I’m just grateful for these opportunities.”
“Going to school and the kids being able to point out what mistakes you make a day after it happens is something I probably never really dreamed of happening with touch.”
Heading into 2019, Pryde said he was excited about representing the Titans again in an expanded NRL Touch Premiership, with the World Cup in Malaysia in April-May also firmly on his radar.
“I was lucky enough to be involved in the last three Trans Tasmans – two with Mixed and the last one with the Men’s, and it has been an awesome experience, but I’m really looking forward to – if selected – playing a wide range of countries in a foreign country like Malaysia,” he said.
“Performances at State of Origin will probably go a long way to picking those teams, so there are a lot of people fighting for those spots.”