HE WAS nervous ahead of his international schoolboys debut on Sunday, but Port Macquarie prop-forward Jeremy Cropper needn’t have worried as his Australian side cruised to a 41-10 victory over an English Academy touring team at Canberra Stadium.
Cropper was selected to wear the green and gold after a strong performance for the ACT in the Australian Schoolboys carnival in Port Macquarie last month, and the Canberra Raiders under-20s player relished the chance to lead the forward pack on home turf.
The big bopper was the starting forward, and played the first 20 minutes of each half.
He said the English formed a formidable opponent.
“They were extremely tough, and very athletic,” he said while travelling on a coach in Brisbane as his team prepared for the second Test.
“They were quite a challenge. But we’d been working very hard.
Cropper was just keen to be out there, and he said the win to the Raiders over the Brisbane Broncos started the day off well.
“Yeah it was fantastic, a great experience,” he said.
“The boys were looking forward to it, and so was I.”
The Aussies dominated, and five-eighth Mitchell Moses put the icing on the cake with a field goal in the dying seconds.
“He was fantastic, as usual,” Cropper said of the playmaker.
He had some great support in the stands, with his parents and sisters watching him play.
Cropper’s father Brian said he was proud to watch his son run out onto the field.
“It’s the pinnacle of boys football,” he said.
“He played with some very good peers from all over Australia.”
Brian said Jeremy defended well in the opening exchanges, before Australia found its straps and started to dominate.
“He took on some heavy attack from England,” Brian said.
“Australia was a little bit apprehensive in the first 15 minutes, but when they hit their straps it was impressive to watch.”
Cropper will return to the national capital when his Australian commitments are over.
He hopes to take to the park for the Raiders under-20s side again soon.
That side is just one point off the table-topping New Zealand Warriors.
“We were coming first for a while,” Cropper said.
“We went nine games before we lost one.”