Max Bailey is one of the top young players coming through the feeder club system at the Sydney Roosters.
The 23-year-old is on the brink of playing first grade, something that would not have been possible without the opportunity he has received at the North Sydney Bears, a club that to this day still holds a special place in many peoples hearts.
“The Bears are an awesome club, I was given a bit of a lifeline to come here in 2018 after under 20s and they’ve treated me really well since the merge with the Roosters, we’ve been even stronger and from Reserve grade to first grade is really evident,” tells Everything Rugby League.
“In terms of the supporters, I think we’ve got probably the biggest fan base in the NSW Cup. The loyalty and passion that North Sydney fans have for the club is amazing to see and it’s really motivational for the team. There’s no better place to play footy then North Sydney Oval when the hills packed.”
In 2019 Bailey took his game to the next level with the help of the coaching staff at North Sydney, who have assisted his progression a great deal.
“The coaching staff from 2019 were amazing for my development. The experience between Jason Taylor, Ben Gardiner and our strength and conditioning trainer Rob helped me to develop greatly throughout the year.
“Specifically though, the way JT and Ben broke down the specifics of both defensive and attacking skills were awesome for me and allowed me to play at a competitive level in a tough competition.”
The forward’s great season would not go unrewarded as Bailey was named the Bears’ Best and Fairest in 2019 and was named in the Canterbury Cup team of the year.
It’s safe to say this was a proud moment for Bailey.
“It was an amazing feeling to be named in the team of the year last year, and I really wasn’t expecting it.
“Going into the season I was just hoping to hold a consistent spot in the team so I was really happy to have played every game, so getting that reward at the end was honestly unexpected but really exciting nonetheless.”
Bailey then got the opportunity of a lifetime in February, playing against first grade talent on national television in the Perth 9’s for the Sydney Roosters.
Which was quite a memorable campaign for the young gun.
“Going over to experience the 9s was awesome. I guess I was lucky that most of the squad was over in England for the WCC so I got the call up to go to Perth.
“The whole competition was amazing to be apart of, and having both my partner and parents there watching me was awesome too. Definitely something I’ll never forget.”
After an amazing season last year and preseason experience in the tricolours, Bailey is hungry to break into the Roosters first grade squad, but knows the chance won’t simply be given to him on a silver platter.
“Being able to train with the Roosters full time in the preseason was really eye opening for me, and it really confirmed that full time training is the next step for me. I know that needs to be earned by playing good footy in reserve grade and I’m happy doing that with the Bears.
“I’m not expecting anything too big off the back of one season so I’m just looking forward to putting in good consistent games and seeing where that takes me.”