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You would think that being selected as starting halfback for 1st Grade in 2017 would be difficult to transition into, however Nick Duffy has made it look effortless, reaching the Grand Final and forcing his way into the NRC with the Sydney Rays.
In a playmaking role, Nick Duffy’s composure and professionalism has certainly been a stand out in his first season for 1st Grade as he discussed his smooth transition to the top level.
“Transitioning into first grade I guess expectations was just for me to do my role and to do what’s best for the team,” Nick said.
“When you have great players around you it makes the transition a lot easier and with Angus at 10 he takes on a lot of responsibility and controls the game well, which definitely made my job a lot easier.”
Whilst Norths became the 2017 Runner’s Up, plenty of Nick’s teammates had prior Grand Final experience, especially the boys who brought the Shute Shield back to Norths in 2016, breaking a 41 year drought.
Nick Duffy has certainly come-of-age as 1st Grade’s very own halfback in 2017, however Nick believes their is still plenty of work to be done for the upcoming season.
“Playing in the Grand Final was a memorable experience and gives you a lot of confidence for next season as it will enable me to compose myself in pressured situations,” Nick said.
“What excites me the most about next season is how hungry everyone will be to go one better then last year and bring the shield back to the Northern Suburbs.”
Making your breakout year in 1st Grade doesn’t come without it’s challenges and Nick suggested that the competitive nature of 1st Grade separates it from the rest.
“It’s extremely different to other teams I have been in,” Nick said.
“Firstly it’s an extremely professional environment and high standards are set and it is also an extremely competitive environment which doesn’t cater for the weak and brings out the best in every player.”
Nick’s stellar 2017 season didn’t come without it’s rewards as a “surprise” NRC selection put Nick under the spotlight once again, bringing out the best in Nick’s performances as the Rays struggled in their opening clash against the Rams.
“I was extremely surprised when I was told that I was going be in the squad… the NRC is very fast paced and physical” Nick admitted.
“It was tough loss, the first game we probably blew 3 tries and let in a few soft ones which was disappointing.
“When you get to go up against Super Rugby players and you can go toe to toe with them it gives you confidence in your own ability and helps develop you as a player.”
2017 has been a year to remember for Nick and he suggested that it would not have been the same without his teammates guiding the squad to another Grand Final.
“I think all the players in leadership positions such as Will Miller and the Sinclair brothers every game lead by example through there actions and also at training,” Nick said.
“The professionalism and high standards they set for everyone to follow has been a key to the success of the team.”