DEAN Bates is nicknamed the Moura Freight Train for good reason – he has barrelled his way into the under-15s Queensland secondary schools team.
Front rower Bates, 15, barnstormed through opposition teams playing for the Capricornia Schoolboys side at the Queensland Secondary Schools 15 Years and Under State Championships, held in Bundaberg at the weekend.
Bates steamrolled the Darling Downs in Capricornia's opening match, and was not only named man of the match, but best prop across all games on the first day.
Capricornia switched off in its second game, going down to Northern 54-30 but came back with wins over Peninsula (58-4) and Sunshine Coast (34-16).
“I feel I could have played better but I'm happy with my efforts,” a modest Bates said.
The bullocking teen played a lot of minutes and made a big impact.
His form impressed selectors, who picked him in the Queensland Whites team, one of two Queensland teams that will compete at the national titles in Canberra in June.
“I felt great,” the talented teen said.
“It was good to know that all my hard work had paid off.”
The Moura Freight Train traipsing over defence lines has also drawn the attention of NRL clubs.
Bates' dad Shaun said the Melbourne Storm, Cowboys, Broncos, Bulldogs and Roosters had all show interest in the former Moura Primary School captain.
“I'm not sure if that's true, but if so that's great,” Bates said.
“I've always followed the Rabbits, but any club would be great.”
Bates said his favourite players were Parramatta cult hero Fuifui Moimoi and Broncos in-form test player Sam Thaiday.
“I definitely admire Sam Thaiday's fearless approach,” he said.
Bates, now in Year 10 at St Brendan's College at Yeppoon, started playing rugby league with the under-8 Moura Tigers.
Bates, who still has family in Moura and Biloela, has played club football for Gracemere since Year 7 and will line up in the grand final this weekend.
The 95kg, 175cm bulldozing prop said he was looking forward to the titles in Canberra.
“I'm expecting the level of competition to be extremely hard but I'm looking forward to the experience,” Bates said.