In our latest Hull FC Academy Player In Focus piece, we catch up with young prop forward Aidan Burrell.
Burrell joined the Hull FC Academy from community club Cottingham Tigers.
The 16-year-old, who has ambitions to play for the Black & Whites at Super League level one day, takes inspiration from South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess.
Tell us about how you got picked up by the Hull FC Academy.
I started played Rugby League for my school team in about Year 8 and then I moved onto Skirlaugh Bulls as my first amateur club. I got picked up by the City of Hull Academy in a final we were playing at Craven Park against West Hull. I got invited to a training day before I got picked officially and it went from there really.
I spent two years in the scholarship and this is my first year in the Academy now. It’s a massive step-up - you go from training twice a week to training twice a day, there is a lot more effort you have to put in but with no school worries, it is easier to commit to it. But I love it, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
How are you finding life at the moment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s been a hard few weeks. When you haven’t got somebody coaching you and telling you what to do, it is difficult to get motivated without those peers around you to push you on. You have just got to stay positive during these hard times.
How important is nutrition during these times away from training?
Nutrition is really important, and probably more important than ever at the moment, You don’t want to be putting a lot of weight on while you’re at home, or losing it too. Diet needs to be strict and you have to make sure everything is balanced. Nathan Freer is a big help on all that sort of stuff and is always letting us know what’s best to eat and what not.
Once you get into a routine, it’s not that hard to maintain. You just have to make sure you’re eating at the right time.
How does your education tie into your Academy training? I go to college at Bishop Burton but they’re very understanding about my ambitions to play rugby so I only have to go in one day a week. I just need to make sure that I catch up on the stuff I miss when I’m away for training but I am committed to doing that. We’ve been set some online coursework but a lot of my work is practical.
You’ve played in a few games this season - how did you find them?
I played in both of our opening games. They’ve been tough playing alongside and against players that are a year older than me but it is great experience for me and it’s great to build up your physical endurance.
Where would you like to see yourself in two years time?
This time in two years, I’d love to be training with the first-team. If I haven’t come that far yet, I’d love to be involved in the Reserves. We’ve seen the likes of Ben McNamara and Ryan Johnson have both made that step-up - it’s great to learn from them when we train with them, with them having learned from the experience of training with the first-team.