Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
St Helens player Nico Rizzelli has patiently waited on the sidelines for the majority of 2020, hoping an opportunity to make his first-team debut would arise.
Rizzelli would finally get his chance in the Saints’ last Super League fixture, a 2019 Grand Final rematch against the Salford Red Devils.
Although the result did not go his team’s way, Rizzelli was proud to make his debut for such a big club.
“Having the opportunity to make my Super League debut was a massive achievement for me, it has been a dream come true especially with a team like St Helens as they are known for bringing through some of the best players in the world. Also, to make my debut with all my mates just adds to the experience, a credit to them as I could not fault any of the efforts. It will be a memory that I will cherish forever, ” Rizzelli told Everything Rugby League.
The centre now looks towards the future, with head coach Kristian Woolf giving the 20-year-old an idea as to what must happen for him to hold down a more prominent role in the side; however, for now, Rizzelli is focused on the team’s success.
“I have had a chat with Kristian and we have spoken about what went well and what I need to improve on from the game to put me in a stronger position if the opportunity arises again.
“Obviously I have to realise we have world-class players in my position such as Tommy and Regan so I’ve just had to make sure that I’m at top of my game in case the opportunity comes again.
“However, at the moment I’m more focused on doing my part for the team to make sure we get the league leader shield for the third time and win back to back grand finals.”
Rizzelli is looking forward to being a role model for the younger generations, and to eventually be someone that they can view as an example of what hard work and dedication look like.
“My goal is to keep working hard and keep improving through the years to become the best player I can be and hopefully reap the rewards afterwards of what is to come. But also to inspire young kids that they can achieve their dreams with hard work and dedication, as you can do anything when you put your mind to it.”
While Rizzelli has not been named in the St Helens squad for the derby against Wigan tonight, he is bound to represent the red and white again soon.