WITH family that includes rugby league royalty of the like of Preston Campbell, Owen Craigie and Cliffy Lyons, it’s little wonder that big things are predicted for Nambucca’s Ulysses Roberts.
The hulking 15-year-old – a Year 10 student at Macksville High – is fast making an impression in junior representative ranks following an eye-catching 2017.
Already identified and signed by NRL franchise, the Parramatta Eels, the powerful bookend has just been selected by the NSW Country Rugby League for their Under 16s team to tour New Zealand in July.
Ulysses is one of seven East Coast Dolphins boys in the CRL side, “but the only one from the Valley”, he adds with pride.
In just his first season of representative footy with the Dolphins, the Bowraville Tigers wrecking ball has already experienced plenty of top flight rugby league in 2017.
At the start of the year he was adjudged man of the match for the NSW Kooris v Queensland Murris juniors match, which was the lead-up fixture to the Indigenous All Stars game.
Proving that was no one-off, Ulysses also got the nod for best on field in the NSW Indigenous Under 16s game against the Western Australian Pirates in Perth.
Little wonder then that the Eels were quick to get the youngster into their program, where he will be involved in their SG Ball side and work through a professionally developed training program.
Ulysses is taking the fire-burst of developments all in his stride, with a gentle shrug of his big shoulders: “I’m enjoying it for sure and would just like to go as far as I can in league,” he told the Guardian.
Mum Eva Roberts and dad Max Johnson are understandably chuffed.
“I’m still on cloud nine. We’re just going global or what,” Max laughed.
Eva was more restrained: “We’re just so proud of what he’s achieved with his footy.”
And as for that memorable name, Ulysses, dad Max said it’s actually after a cartoon character in the 1980s.
Ulysses was the main character in the French-Japanese animated series and was said to be brave, noble and determined – traits that will serve Master Roberts well in rugby league.