RUGBY UNION: John Rangihuna has finally got his man.
When the Stingrays coach saw then-Caboolture fullback Jay Forrester shine brightly in his brief Premier Rugby debut against Sunnybank last season, he saw something special in the reigning Wartung Premiership player of the year.
A delighted Rangihuna has since convinced Forrester to step up and compete at the level the coach believes the speedster belongs - and at the age of 29 to boot.
The New Zealand-born coach has made it clear that the Stingrays' No.15 jersey is the truck driver and tiler's to lose.
"He's obviously an exceptional club player, so it will be good to see how he goes at the next level," Rangihuna said.
The Coast mentor had wanted Forrester to stay with the Stingrays when he impressed on debut in a 20-minute cameo against Sunnybank in May before injury forced him off.
But in an act of lauded loyalty, Forrester told Rangihuna that he wanted to stay with Caboolture as it chased its first Sunshine Coast A-grade premiership.
Like he had done all season, Forrester starred in the Snakes' grand final win over Noosa.
With that mission completed, he has answered the call to test himself against better players.
Rangihuna obviously believes Forrester, who turns 30 in May, has the attributes needed to succeed in Premier Rugby.
"The little bit he showed against Sunnybank was quite exceptional, so I'm confident he can handle it," he said.
"He's an athlete first and foremost. Speed. Even at pre-season training he's showing exceptional speed.
"And you probably wouldn't think of it to look at him, but probably the physicality of the bloke (is another attribute).
"He's very strong in the upper body. He makes the telling tackles that need to be made - the try-saving tackles.
"He's got the speed to get there, but he generally hits hard."
The man himself would prefer a lid was placed on people's expectations of him.
When asked why a player of his talent had not devoted himself to this standard of rugby earlier, he merely said he worked away a lot.
So why do it now?
"Just to have a go, mate," he said.
"I'm not getting any younger. I may as well have a go."
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