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Not only will the 15-year-old have to adapt to an Australian education curriculum near the end of secondary school, Reuben is also joining one of the code’s ultimate school of hard knocks after securing a three-year contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Fortunately, his mother and father are in a similar boat after they make the flight in December or January.
“It’s a bit of an upheaval really. We’re selling the house, we don’t have jobs (to go to) and all that sort of thing,” Kirsten Reuben said.
However, crossing the Tasman after her son finishes year 11 is a calculated risk the Prestons-based family are willing to take.
“He’s one of these kids that doesn’t have a problem with change. If we didn’t go we’d just sit here forever thinking what might have been,” said Kirsten, who will lean on club staff and old high school friends when making the transition.
Bronson, who captained the Southern Zone Scorpions to a 42-6 victory over the Wellington Orcas at the national under-16 tournament at Nga Puna Wai on Saturday, impressed at an Elite Sport Performance Trust two-day talent identification camp for 20 players in Auckland last year.
Ideally, the halfback would have attended training sessions at the Bulldogs’ Belmore headquarters during the July school holidays but MIQ requirements ruled out the trip.
“He could get there, but there was no guarantee he could get home,” Kirsten said.
Bronson started playing rugby league as a six-year-old at the Kaiapoi-based Northern Bulldogs, following in his father Kyle’s sprigmarks – a former New Zealand age group and Canterbury representative.
“It’ll be a big learning curve but like anything, if you want to excel at a sport you should probably fish where the fish are,” said Kirsten, the Northern Bulldogs club secretary.
“You go where they’ve got good programmes, they just do it properly over there. We couldn’t really not do it.”
The Northern Bulldogs under-16s player of the year for 2021, Bronson, who has represented Canterbury since he was nine, will play in the same grade next year.
His favourite player is retired Kangaroos, Queensland and North Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston, who started his illustrious career at the Bulldogs in 2002.
Bronson is the second player from St Bede’s to join the Canterbury Bulldogs, following year 13 student and Halswell Hornets back rower Tanner Stowers-Smith, who signed a two-year deal last December.