RISING rugby league star Zac Saddler has joined NRL club the Canterbury Bulldogs until the end of 2017, a move which will see the Cooma talent play in the NSW Rugby League's Under 16 Harold Matthews competition.
Saddler, a former Cooma Colt, attracted interest from the Bulldogs after a number of strong performances in the last year.
The hard hitting back rower starred in the recent Australian Under 15 Schoolboys Championships held in Tamworth, where he represented the NSW Combined High School side.
The Saddler family has a rich rugby league background and are avid Bulldogs supporters according to Zac's mother, Donna Saddler.
"Zac follows the Bulldogs and is very excited to have signed with the club," Donna said.
"His father Troy played reserve grade for the club in the late 1980s and early 1990s, so it's nice for Zac to follow on."
At the Schoolboys Championships the 14-year-old put in a man of the match effort in his side's loss to Queensland.
Zac attends Yanco Agriculture College in Leeton and plays junior rugby league for the Tullibigeal Lake Cargelligo Sharks, where he has impressed so far this season.
"It has been a very exciting year, on the back of a good season," Donna said.
"He was picked in Yanco's open league side, despite being in year nine."
"The school is very sports orientated."
Such is the regard the Bulldogs club has for Zac, they will fly him to Sydney to play in their Harold Matthews side next season.
Zac caught the eye of talent scouts who were impressed with his defensive skills. Hard tackling and never afraid of taking on those larger than him are traits which mirror that of his idol, former Bulldog captain Andrew Ryan.
"Zac would love to play first grade, he really liked Andrew Ryan."
"He will meet the Bulldogs staff in an upcoming trip to Melbourne."
Zac will head to Melbourne to play against the Melbourne Storm youth teams, as part of a composite Riverina side. Following this, he has been invited by the Bulldogs to watch the side take on the Storm at AAMI Park where he will meet with Bulldogs officials.