Raiders recruit Kirwan teenager FROM the depths of despair can come the eventual realisation of seemingly impossible dreams.
At 18 years of age, Dennis Tomarchio has been through hardships that many professional rugby league players will never experience, but the young Townsville footballer considers himself blessed to have trodden the rough road.
Tomarchio has been offered a two-year contract with the Canberra Raiders and will be part of the club's respected under-20s squad until the end of 2013.
The deal came after Tomarchio was initially offered a train and trial contract that was expected to run until early next year, but it took only three weeks for him to convince Raiders coaching staff he belonged with the Green Machine.
Even more impressive is the fact Tomarchio has only played a handful of games since sustaining a dreaded anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in August, 2010.
More than 11 months of gruelling recovery followed and the powerhouse forward eventually made his comeback in the national schoolboys competition in July, although his knee wasn't at 100 per cent.
Tomarchio's undeniable talent and power, however, complemented a ferocious work ethic which has now taken him one step closer to his goal of breaking into the NRL.
"I had a very tough run to get here and I've had to work for a lot of things - I've never had anything given to me," he said.
"It wasn't that long ago that I was thinking it was all over and blown my chance of getting somewhere.
"I knew I would have to work hard, but it all paid off in the end."
Tomarchio recently graduated from Kirwan State High School and joins a crop of Townsville talent that has been accepted into under-20s programs across the country, with most going into the North Queensland Cowboys system.
Tomarchio said he was surprised enough when his manager secured a train and trial opportunity, but was simply blown away by how quickly things progressed from there.
"My manager told me he got the train and trial, so after that I flew down here and started getting into it," Tomarchio said.
"Then it got all really sudden. I was training hard and then before I knew it they wanted to sit down and have a chat."
Tomarchio finalised the deal with the Raiders last Friday and will join a team known for its success at under-20s level.
The Raiders won the inaugural National Youth Competition grand final in 2008 and featured in the finals in each of the next two seasons.
They are regarded as one of the NYC's heavyweight teams and are known for their size up-front.
Tomarchio said he would hold nothing back in his mission to become a professional rugby league player. "The knee feels as good as new and I know from experience that hard work can take you places, so I won't be stepping back," he said.Source: Townsville Bulletin