It’s been a long time since Port Stephens juniors Kurt Langdon and Hayden Thompson have worn the same colours.
Not since year 9, to be precise.
This week they were both named in the under 23 Newcastle-Hunter side to take part in the Country Rugby League rep comp, having impressed the selectors.
“We played two trials to get picked and the second trial was heaps harder,” the Magpies’ Langdon said.
And highly competitive.
“There was no getting a breather,” the Panthers’ Thompson said.
“We’re all going a million miles an hour and no one wants to come off.”
Such opportunities to even run onto the same park have been few and far between in recent years.
Both attended Hunter River Sports High and made the NSW Combined High School team, before Thompson left league for a spell.
“I grew up as a leaguey at Mallabula but I went to Medowie [Rugby Club] for a while,” he said.
“I injured my ACL but I always wanted a year at Mallabula, I’d been around the club since I was one, and mum, dad and my sister were all out there.”
While Thompson returned to league last year the game has remained Langdon’s focus throughout his junior years.
If the name’s familiar then maybe that’s because he’s among four generations of Langdons to play for Raymond Terrace.
He’s tasted a minor premiership in his juniors and awaits rep duty with pride and nostalgia.
“Playing for NSW [under 17s] is probably the highlight for me,” Langdon said.
“It was touring with the lads like Curtis Scott (Melbourne Storm) and a gaggle of NSW Cup players.”
Coincidentally both Langdon and Thompson prefer working from the back of the ruck in the second row or centres.
Both have enjoyed the chance to square off with their respective clubs.
“Kurt’s a hard player to contain, he’s got those lanky legs but he’s a stronger runner,” Thompson said.
Likewise, Langdon was complimentary of his junior team mate. The pair being good rivals and good mates.
“Hayden’s a really strong defender but he’s a good attacker too,” Langdon said.
Their first training session is scheduled for next Wednesday under no less a coach than Daniel FItzhenry who’s the assistant on the Knights reserve grade roster.
Their first game will be played at the Maitland No.1 Sportsground on May 12. If they can win this and the following game on May 19, they will play the final on May 26 and have a chance to tour Papua New Guinea, if they make selection.
“Hopefully we’re partnered together in the second row, we would work well,” Thompson said.
Langdon added: “It will be like old times.”