Derrick dons his debut Q

By Beth Newman

The last time Matt Derrick pulled on a rep jumper it was that of the U14 Gold Coast Stingrays.

Fifteen years on, the Palm Beach defender will be donning the state maroon for the first time, this Sunday against the VAFA, a reward for plenty of hard work.

“It’s my first time playing rep footy since U14s I reckon, so it’s been a while.”

After a slow start to 2013, Derrick consistently improved through the season, becoming a Lions premiership player and a vital member of their damaging back line.

The continuation of that form this season obviously impressed state selectors, and Derrick said it was a pleasant surprise to be included in the team.

“I was pretty surprised to be picked at first but I’m really happy, it’s a great opportunity,” he said.

“It’s been great to get amongst it and meet all the boys.”

Only able to train in the week leading up to Sunday’s match, the biggest challenge fro Derrick has been remembering everyone’s names.

“I didn’t know many names when I came down on Tuesday, so just trying to remember 30 new names in a week has been hard.”

State footy was never something that Derrick explicitly considered, but now that he’s a part of it the 28 year-old is excited to test himself against the best amateurs in the country.

I’ve always kept my eye on it (state footy), but it’s good to actually be a part of it for once,” he said.

“This year, I just really wanted to keep improving and play the best I could and see where I could go from there.”

“I feel like this year has been a bit more consistent…it’s been much improved, I’d say.”

That mindset has paid off for Derrick, who has missed just one game so far this season, and continues to entrench himself in the Lions’ back line.

His easy going off-field demeanour defies his fierce competitiveness on the field, with Derrick one of the hardest working in the team.

The only down side for Derrick is that he won’t be able to don the maroon Q alongside younger brother, Jesse, who had to pull out of the rep side, but that’s just another thing he will take in his stride.

“He had to pull out, but not to worry.”

For all the information on Sunday’s state triple header, click here.

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