Victorian Kennar gets his chance
20-year old outside back Richie Kennar became the third Victorian to represent Melbourne Storm on Saturday night.
Mahe Fonua created history in 2012 when he became the first Victorian born and bred player to play for Melbourne Storm at NRL level and was then followed by winger Young Tonumaipea who made his debut two years later in Round 1, 2014. On Saturday, Kennar received his opportunity in first-grade to play for the Club he grew up supporting and idolising after making his way through the Melbourne Storm development pathways.
In his second season on Melbourne's first-grade squad, Kennar was been rewarded for his strong performances in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup with Storm feeder club Easts Tigers and earned selection in Craig Bellamy's side to take on the Panthers in Penrith.
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One of three Victorians apart of Storm's first-grade squad, Kennar has progressed through the Club's development system playing for Storm U18 and U20 sides before graduating onto the Club's NRL list ahead of the 2014 season.
The youngster's pathway to first-grade is one which all aspiring Victorian rugby league players can look up to and emulate. Kennar began his rugby league journey playing his junior football with VRL club Northern Thunder and also for his school, Craigieburn Secondary College.
During his junior years, Kennar also became the first Victorian to represent the Australian Schoolboys side in 2011 playing alongside the likes of now-NRL listed players David Klemmer, Kane Egley, Jake Trbojevic and Lloyd Perrett.
Kennar has participated in Melbourne's past two Auckland Nines campaigns and been a regular in trial matches throughout the last two pre-seasons. Kennar started and finished the 2014 season strongly in the Intrust Super Cup, however a hip injury sustained mid-year halted his push for senior selection.
So far in 2015, the versatile back has been a damaging outlet in attack for Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup, scoring 10 tries.
Boding well for the future, 14 out of 30 players currently in Melbourne Storm's U20 Thunderbolts squad hail from Victoria, coached by former Storm listed forward Marc Brentnall.