Blore's season of success rolls on
Panthers young gun Shawn Blore has already bagged a premiership, a national championship and an Origin triumph in 2018 - and he's not done yet.
Blore was a standout performer as the Jersey Flegg Panthers took a giant leap towards Grand Final glory with an 18-10 Qualifying Final win over Cronulla at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.
The 18-year-old backrower scored a try, was involved in another and made a memorable line break, but the impressive performance was nothing out of the ordinary in 2018.
This season Blore captained the Panthers to the SG Ball premiership and national championship glory, and also wore the armband as NSW prevailed in the Under-18's Origin clash.
He went on to make his Jersey Flegg debut in June, where his impressive performances earned him an Intrust Super Premiership NSW call-up just a month later.
Blore is now back in the under-20's side for the Jersey Flegg Finals Series and coach Ben Harden has nothing but praise for the Brothers junior.
"It's a pleasure to work with Shawn," Harden said.
"Not just on his on-field ability but his character traits off the field are what we see as his major strengths. He's quite humble and hard-working. With his mindset, it's always just been a matter of time."
While conceding Blore still has a long way to go on his rugby league journey, Harden is confident that he has the potential for a long first-grade career with the Panthers.
"The sky could be the limit for him, but he knows that he's only at the start of his career," Harden said.
"He's going on to a development contract next year, so he'll have his first full-time pre-season.
"We're quite keen on him to develop into a long-term first grader and play 200 first grade games."
As for Blore himself, he's quick to downplay the hype. He cites luck as the reason for his rapid rise through the Panthers junior ranks and gives credit to his teammates and family for his development.
"I've been so surprised. It's happened so fast and I just put it down to luck," Blore said.
"I was happy just to train with the Jersey Flegg squad, let alone to play with them. And then just a few weeks later, I was fortunate enough to get a shot in the Intrust Super Premiership and I'm all the better because of it.
"My family has played a huge role in how far I've come and the teammates really get the best out of you.
"It's been a good ride and I've enjoyed every minute of it."
While the Panthers have an eye on his future, Blore is focused solely on the present, with a Jersey Flegg title top of his agenda.
The Panthers will face either Newcastle Knights or Sydney Roosters in next week's Preliminary Final with a Grand Final berth up for grabs.
"My goal right now is just to play good footy," Blore said.
"We've got a good opportunity in front of us right now to take out the Flegg.
"I'm just here to do a job and do it well, and I'm just really happy to be here."