Unlike most Australians who opt play over in England late in their careers, Jy Hitchcox did so after just four NRL games and has now gone on to play the game at in three different countries.
Things started “simple enough” for the 30-year-old in terms of playing rugby league that is.
During his teenage years the Byron Bay born Hitchcox would sign with the Gold Coast Titans and play for their Toyota Cup side, before joining the Melbourne Storm in 2010.
The very next year at just 21-years-old Hitchcox would switch codes and play Rugby Union for Shute Shield side Manly RUFC in a move from that proved anything but easy.
“I found the transition to rugby a little difficult, my game is suited to open space and finding gaps. I was surprised at how different the game is and to be honest I found it a little boring. Maybe because I wasn’t much good at it.” Hitchcox revealed to Everything Rugby League.
Hitchcox would return to Rugby League the very next year signing with the Wests Tigers, and in 2014 made his NRL debut, which was made all the more special with a certain someone there to watch him in the stands.
“When I found out I would make my debut for Wests Tigers it was a dream come true, playing in the NRL was the first goal I ever set myself from a young age, I promised my grandparents I would play NRL.
“Some 16 years after setting my goal it finally came true, unfortunately I lost my Granddad who couldn’t be there to see it but it was bittersweet to have my Nan in the stands watching, even went over for a try right in front of her.
“The night was wet, cold and we got hammered 40-4 my the Roosters. Luckily I got a few more games over the next few weeks and a win.”
In 2015, Hitchcox joined English Championship side the Featherstone Rovers in an uncommon move for most Australian players his age but it was a deal that he just couldn’t pass up.
“The opportunity to come over into the British game came up pretty quickly, I didn’t get the deal I thought I was worth in Australia and I wanted something new, I love travelling and seeing new parts of the world, this was an opportunity to do so.
“I knew I couldn’t enter straight into the Super League because of the 75% playing rule so I decided to throw caution to the wind and sign with Featherstone on much less then my deal in Australia, but it all worked out in the end. Maybe it was the drive I needed.”
Since signing with the Rovers in 2015, Hitchcox has went on to play for Castleford, Batley, Halifax, Bradford and now his current club Toulouse.
At this point in time he looks back to his days in the Super League with the Tigers as the favourite period in his career.
“I loved my time at Castleford, it’s a great club with a very loyal fan base which is partly why I enjoyed it so much, the other part is the players. We had such a great bunch of blokes, weather it was coffee, dinner or a few beers everyone was there. It’s a family club with good values and I’ve left with mates I’ll retain forever.”
That being said, Hitchcox’s most recent move to Toulouse certainly has the potential to trump his time at the Tigers.
“I moved to France for something different and a new challenge.
“I’m loving my time here, we’ve got a strong squad and a good coach who suits my style of play. There’s a lot of like minded individuals in the team.
“It’s gutting the season has gone the way it had because I was really excited with what we were building.”
Toulouse Olympique XIII sit atop the Championship table with a 5-0 win/loss record for 2020 with the season currently on hold.
Hitchcox has set himself up nicely for the future as a co-founder of the ETYKYT clothing brand, but is not yet certain whether he’ll move back to Australia, go back to England or remain in France.
“I’ve discussed where me and the family might settle without coming to a decision, tough one having an English partner and two British kids it’s three against one at the minute, however Australia does have the sunny weather which hopefully seals the deal.”