Darby Medlyn makes NRL debut for Canberra Raiders in round 20

DREAM DEBUT: Former Parkes Spacemen Darby Medlyn made his debut last weekend for the Canberra Raiders. He is pictured here in his final training session before the game in lovely Canberra conditions. Photo: Canberra Raiders.

DREAM DEBUT: Former Parkes Spacemen Darby Medlyn made his debut last weekend for the Canberra Raiders. He is pictured here in his final training session before the game in lovely Canberra conditions. Photo: Canberra Raiders.

The Canberra Raiders have a wonderful history of developing junior players, and yet another one made their NRL debut in the last round of the regular season - Parkes' Darby Medlyn, a former star Spacemen.

Medlyn went on the field with 19 minutes to go much to the delight of all his supporters back home - who he was stoked to have behind him.

"Thank you to everyone back home, especially the Spacemen, my parents and two brothers, Jack and Max, for the amazing support you have given me over the years."

"I'm so proud to come from Parkes and I'm massively thankful everybody has been so supportive and sent me plenty of well wishes," said Medlyn.

Before the debut, most of the COVID-19 restricted 2020 season has been spent training the house down and without a second tier competition, helping the NRL side prepare each week.

"The coaches tell us it is a pretty important role, because we act as the opposition and get them ready every week."

Most players come off the field in their first NRL (or any football code for that matter) match and remark just how much quicker the game is played - and that was certainly the case for Medlyn.

"It was fast, I got pretty gassed!

"I'm lucky I get to tackle some massive blokes at training, which prepared me pretty well."

Medlyn had every reason to be gassed; in 21 minutes on the field he laid 14 tackles, ran for 50 metres and made two tackle breaks.

Any first grade debut is special, but sharing it with a bunch of players you came through the junior system with is something else.

"Six of us from the (Jersey) Flegg class all played together in Saturday's game, so it was a bit of a throwback," said Medlyn.

That Jersey Flegg team of 2019 took on the Rabbitohs in that year's decider and went down by just two points.

Who was the captain of that oustanding junior side you ask? Why it was Darby Medlyn of course, the no nonsense lock-cum-second rower who was admired for blue collar forward play that inspired his troops.

It's a common theme when one reads any article about Medlyn that he brings incredible leadership; and is someone coaches love to coach and players love to go into battle with.

For any player; forget skill - this is the ultimate compliment.

"It's nice to be recognised for that, really I just want to be the best mate I can be to everyone - I just love building relationships with the boys."

Did you hear that? That was the sound of the entire town of Parkes collectively going 'Aw.' We're so proud of you Darby!