Ipswich schoolboy to represent Poland
LOCHLAN Srama owes much to former Ipswich State High School mentor and now Poland national team coach Lee Addison.
Addison brought the talented half to ISHS on a scholarship in 2013, and just last month confirmed Lochlan's place in his Polish squad for today's pre-tournament Test match against Hungary.
"(Addison) has been really good, helping me with not just football but life skills as well," Lochlan said.
"My defence improved heaps when I went to Ipswich with him. It's really good having him as the coach, there's a trust and belief there."
That trust and belief is mutual.
"He's just one of those players that's improved year on year," Addison said of Lochlan.
"He has a very smart football brain. I want to give him a game against Hungary to see how he handles it."
Lochlan is one of multiple players in the Hungary Test squad fighting for a berth in the Emerging Nations World Cup squad ahead of next Thursday's Pool C clash with Hong Kong.
"I've been telling Dad for a couple of weeks now, if I make the World (Championship) squad and get to play against NRL players . . . they'll probably run rings around me, but just the experience of going up against them would be great," Lochlan said.
Addison has faith there will be no rings run around his former pupil. In fact, the coach believes Lochlan has "potentially got another 10-15 years of representing Poland in him."
"Without a shadow of a doubt," Addison said.
"I've known him for five years. I've seen him improve and improve. What these competitions do is allow pathways for other players (outside the NRL or Super League) to show what they've got."
Lochlan's father and Swifts Under-17s coach Paul Srama explained just how his son came to be eligible to play for the Polish national team.
"My dad was born on the Polish-German border in a concentration camp," he said.
"My grandparents were born in Poland, captured during the war and ended up in the concentration camp there.
"We've still got family back in Poland who we keep in touch with. I was lucky to go back there in '91 and spend some time there.
"I'd love to go back with Lochlan and see the extended family. It means a lot to me to see him get an opportunity to represent Poland and our extended family."
Paul was unable to travel to Sydney to watch Lochlan play today, having just come off surgery to his leg which limits flying or driving.
But the proud dad said he would find a means to watch Lochlan run out in the red and white.
"It's live-streamed, so I'll definitely set the computer up so I can sit around with family and watch," he said.
Emerging Nations World Championship
Group C: Poland, Hong Kong, Japan, Solomon Islands, Turkey
Fixtures: Thursday, October 4 (4.30pm) Poland v Hong Kong; Sunday, October 7 (4.30pm) Poland v Japan