A teenager from Bridlington is hoping to become the first British player to take up a scholarship on the world’s most prestigious rugby league programme.
Kieran Learoyd has been offered a place at Keebra Park, on the Gold Coast in Australia, from January 2016 - but he will need to raise more than £30,000 to make his dream a reality.
The 15-year-old stand-off, who is a pupil at Headlands School, started a trial at Hull KR last week and has dreams of becoming a professional in the future.
Learoyd has played for a number of teams in the Hull area, but last year he played for the Yorkshire Coast Titans, who are based at Hunmanby.
Mum Gemma Wiles said: “He has been playing rugby since he was about five years old. When he was about 11, he started looking on the internet, for anywhere in the world which ran rugby league scholarships, because so much more funding goes into rugby union.”
He found Keebra Park and contacted the leader. He kept in touch and it ended up with him sending video footage of himself playing and has been offered the full scholarship.
“He would play for the school and do the equivalent of A-Levels while he is there for two years.”
While many teenagers would find the idea of moving to Australia at the age of 16 terrifying, the main stumbling block for Learoyd, who is already 6ft 4ins tall, is financial.
Because the dates of school terms are different in Queensland and East Yorkshire, he would not be flying out until January 2016, which gives him a year to try to find grants and sponsorship.
Gemma said: “We need to raise a lot of money to cover the flights, the living costs and, because he doesn’t have an Australian passport, the international student fees, which is a massive amount.
“Kieran is desperate to go. He is really, really confident and very independent, and this is a massive opportunity.
“Nobody from the UK has taken advantage of this opportunity. It is a really prestigious school and he would stay at a foster home.
“We know we will have to fund a lot of this ourselves but if any local sponsors can help us, that would be fantastic.”
D Brown Roofing. LW Motor Sales and Recovery, Shades of Hair, Cranswicks and Roofline have already pitched in.
Any other businesses wanting to find out more can call Gemma on 07821 745114 or Kieran’s dad Tom on 07821 745114.