JOSH Sheridan and Jack Milne Childs have played footy together since they were eight.
It was playing representative rugby together on the NSW Central Coast that earned them both scholarship offers to attend Ipswich Grammar School this year.
They hoped to play successful rugby together at the school, but never imagined they would claim national powerlifting titles side by side.
Yet that is the case after their rugby journey took a temporarily detour earlier this month.
At the CAPO (Council of Australian Powerlifting Organisation) national titles at Richlands, they both won their national/weight divisions, less than six months after taking seriously to the sport.
For Milne Childs, the effort was even more impressive, setting world benchmarks for all his lifts.
There were no previous records for his 16 years/110kg division, mainly because there's so few 16-year-olds that lift those weights. But Milne Childs was still determined to set a mark that would last some time.
"My goal was to put a heavy weight up so it stays there," he said. "I want to try and top it at worlds."
Both attributed their rapid rise in the new sport to the coaching of Dominic Morton.
Morton's sons play in the same school rugby team as the pair and, as a life-long powerlifter, Morton helps out as weights room co-ordinator for the footy players.
"We were trying to get bigger for rugby," Milne Childs said.
"We've got a really good coach.
"He gives us training sessions like it's a competition to get us ready."
But it is about more than just lifting as much as you can.
"Technique and body structure" are also crucial.
Milne Childs has improved his best bench press from 90kg to 115kg in six months.
While the sport or powerlifting is still in its infancy in Australia, it is big in other parts of the world, particularly Eastern Europe and Russia. Such as the Russian 14-year-old girl who can lift 140kg.
The pair expects a lot more competition when they go to Sydney for the world titles in November.
Whatever the outcomes there, both take satisfaction from getting this far, even if it is a slight diversion from what they hoped to achieve together.
Their under-16 school rugby team is not doing as well as they would like but they can give it their full attention now.
"It's definitely good having a good mate there," Sheridan said of making his way at a new school. "And training together is good."
They train and play together but both had to fast together to make weight at nationals.
"I weighed in on the day after 12 hours with no food and no water to make weight," Milne Childs said.
"Weigh in was at 8am with competition at 1pm. So I went and had the best feed."
Both are boarders so have to get by on the food provided for them.
For Milne Childs, it is a remarkably sparse diet for someone his size.
"I was just a big baby," the 110kg, 190cm loosehead prop said.
"I drank lots of milk and ate lots of meat."
Jack Milne Childs
- Weight: 110kg
- Squat: 165kg
- Bench: 107.5kg
- Dead lift: 210kg
- Josh Sheridan
- Weight: 67.5kg
- Squat: 112.5kg
- Bench: 80kg
- Dead lift: 160kg
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