Brock Hamill at 19 years of age has had one of the most challenging years of his life.
The Jersey Flegg lock was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer in November of 2017 and needed to move back to the Gold Coast for three months of treatment.
"The chemo was very challenging, but the most challenging part for me was just seeing traumatic changes with my body appearance and hair loss," said Hamill.
Before moving back home to be treated, Hamill made his Jersey Flegg debut for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in round eight against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
It was a memorable game at Belmore Sports Ground, with the Bulldogs securing their biggest win of the season defeating Manly 60-20. Hamill scored two tries and finished off the game converting his own try at full time.
When he found out he was playing with the Jersey Flegg side he was keen to play alongside his teammates.
"Finding out that I made the team was so overwhelming, I was so happy and nervous at the same time, and then running out on the field with the boys at home just felt amazing," said Hamill.
With his family travelling down from the Gold Coast to watch him, the grandstand was loud and filled with support.
Jersey Flegg coach, Brad Henderson and Assistant Coach Luke Vella have mentored Brock throughout his time at Belmore.
Brad Henderson recalls the biggest win of the season.
"It was certainly our biggest - up for debate whether it was our best. To pump the defending Premiers by that much on such an important day for Brock was pretty awesome and so much of the day felt so surreal the way it just unfolded so perfectly for him. We knew we had a great player given the achievements he had with Keebra Park, but I never imagined he'd have such an impact. It was such a nice moment that we'll always remember," stated Henderson.
Henderson is proud of the person Hamill is shaping up to be and believes he will continue to bring toughness and enthusiasm to the squad next year.
"Brock brings toughness and enthusiasm to go with a great skill-set, his personality also has a real positive effect on those around him. Add to that the kid is a proven winner," with Henderson being promoted to Intrust Super Premiership Coach, Hamill will this year be coached by David Penna.
"He has another coach now who will be a great Mentor to him. I do find it hard to not hug the kid when I see him, I can't imagine what he has had to endure and to present himself in such a positive way each time you catch him, speaks volumes of the kid and the great family that has raised him. We are all so glad he is back, and I can't wait to watch him do his thing," added Henderson.
Recruitment Manager, Warren McDonnel also spoke highly of Hamill.
"We're really excited to see him back. He's an integral part of the team on and off the field and added a lot of spark to the team when he made his debut."
After returning to Belmore he has moved into a Bulldogs house with his Keebra Park High teammates.
Pre-season training has also resumed for the 2019 season, which consists of four field and weight sessions, as well as wrestle and cardio.
Hamill is training alongside teammates Josh Wilkinson (Wilko) who he has formed a close bond with.
"I'm excited to rip in with Wilko who I played with last year, as well as Zac Saddler. Wilko has been supportive throughout the process and we get along really well," said Hamill.
Hamill is excited for the year ahead and ready to tackle any challenges:
"I'm looking forward to making life long memories with my best mates, training hard and playing hard, and just enjoying my time there," added Hamill.