Bond University Rugby Club's Alex Mafi is living his rugby dream after being offered a three-year contract with the Queensland Reds.
The 18-year-old was headhunted by Reds’ talent scouts and will start with training with the Super Rugby side when preseason starts in November.
Mafi will also be involved in one of Queensland Rugby’s two teams in the upcoming Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC), with the full line-up of both teams set to be announced on August 7.
Despite an injury-ridden start to the year, Mafi proved himself a standout player in the second half of the season with the Bond University Rugby Club, quickly moving up into the Premier Colts side where he was awarded Man of the Match in his first run-on for the Premier Grade team.
The star hooker was one of only two students Australia-wide to receive the John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship to Bond University in 2015, a prestigious scholarship for sporting excellence which includes the added bonus of one-on-one mentoring from rugby legend, John Eales.
Mafi said it had always been his dream to play professional rugby.
"A rugby career has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid," he said.
"I didn't think I would achieve it this year considering I was injured for the first half of the season, but I also played much better footy in the second half of the year than I expected so I'm pretty stoked to say the least."
Sean Hedger, Bond University's Director of Rugby, said Alex had shown outstanding form throughout the season and was thrilled at being recognised by selectors.
"This is a fantastic achievement for Alex, and the first step in what I expect will be a long and successful rugby career," said Mr Hedger.
“It's also very rewarding for our club, as it shows other players that if you work hard and play well, the rewards will come.
"Alex is a great example of the pathway that exists for players to move up the ranks to professional rugby. Being part of the Bond side has opened the door for Alex to play for both the Queensland Reds and Queensland Country teams, and we wish him the best of luck with this next exciting stage of his career."