VIKING'S CALL: Roberts-Field ready for Grafton debut
BASKETBALL: After just five years in the sport, Crown Hotel Grafton Vikings recruit Jack Roberts-Field has kicked down a lot of doors.
The 18-year-old from Yamba broke into the senior ranks last season with the Byron Bay Beez and in his rookie season was named in the Frigid Air Sunshine Conference All-Star starting five.
The punchy small forward led the Beez to the conference finals in 2017, and while at the time it was his biggest challenge on the court, it pales in comparison to what he faces this weekend.
Stepping onto the courts at Grafton Sports Centre in Vikings colours for the first time, Roberts-Field will face off against the same guys who gave him an opportunity last season.
"There has been a bit of chatter back and forth this week between me and the Byron boys,” he said.
"It has fired me up a bit, and I just want to come out, run our plays, and give it all I have got.
"This is my first time playing for the Vikings and I just want to make it something special.”
Roberts-Field grew up in the far reaches of the Clarence Valley in Tullymorgan, and despite not picking up a basketball until he was in high school, has taken to the sport like a duck to water.
He joined the Yamba Trawlers junior ranks at Raymond Laurie Sports Centre when his family moved to the coastal town and from there has put in plenty of miles to keep his basketball dream alive.
"I went from there to Ballina, over to Byron for a season and now I am here in Grafton,” he said. "It has been a bit of a trip but hopefully I have found somewhere to settle and stay for a bit.
"(Last year) was a really good experience, there are few older veterans in the Byron Bay system who really showed me the ropes.
"I was surprised how quick I got comfortable with the game and playing at a senior level. I felt I really grew into my confidence as the season went along.”
Now a year on from his own debut, Roberts-Field is ready to help foster the next level of talent coming through into the Vikings senior ranks.
Vikings juniors Zac Clark, Harry Ashenden and Kyle Bruntner will all make the step up to the senior ranks this season under new coach Nathan Martin.
"There has been plenty of change at the Vikings. We have a few more young juniors coming through the ranks, so it is a lot younger this season,” Roberts-Field said.
"A lot of these guys are going through the same thing I did a year ago, so I am just trying to help guide them through it and make them feel as comfortable as possible.”
The Vikings women are also gearing up for a big year on the courts after making the grand final last season but will not play this weekend due to the bye.
SUNSHINE CONFERENCE: Grafton Vikings v Byron Bay Beez, Grafton Sports Centre, Saturday 6pm