Old boy to debut for South Sydney on finals eve
Lachlan Ilias will make his NRL debut for the finals-bound Rabbitohs this weekend, the first Trinitarian in recent history to play at rugby league’s top level.
The 21-year-old playmaker will line up for the third-placed South Sydney against 12th-placed St George Illawarra at Sunshine Coast Stadium in the final round on Saturday night.
His debut caps a steady rise since he joined Souths two years ago after starring as a schoolboy rugby player in Trinity, NSW and Australian colours.
He becomes the third player from the stand-out rugby class of 2018 to make it into the professional codes, joining his mate Tane Edmed, who debuted for the Waratahs this year, and Thomas Lambert, who plays for Gloucestershire and has been capped at under 20 level for Scotland.
All three payed for their school and their state as schoolboys, and won national representative honours in their final year.
Lachlan’s emergence onto the big league stage follows the appearance of three other old boys – Rohan Browning, Oliver Hoare and Sam Fricker – at the Tokyo Olympics, underlining the School’s commitment to excellence.
He gets his chance to shine on the eve of the finals under one of the game’s greatest coaches, Wayne Bennett.
He has made 26 appearances in Souths lower grades, scoring 12 tries and kicking nine goals at a 64 per cent conversion rate.
Barker College 1st XV v Trinity Grammar School 1st XV. Sport Rugby Union Schoolboys. Barker Oval. 3 June 2017. Photo by Paul Seiser/SPA Images
He is believed to be the first Trinitarian to play NRL, and is “certainly the first this century”, said Trinity Director of Co-Curricular Lachlan White, who remembers him mimicking his idols while playing after school with his old classmates and now fellow professionals.
“In Years 7 and 8 the three of them would hang around until dark scoring tries in the corner of No 1 Oval,” he said.
“They would be imagining making their debuts for the first XV, or in the NRL.
“They would play for hours every day.
“I took a lot of joy from watching them.
“They all had a love of sport, the thrill of the contest and competition. They had a desire to be better so they didn’t lose.
“Sport was always play for Lachie. As a kid he loved the concept of play.
“He was relatively shy but playful, and liked to laugh and find amusement in things.
“But he also worked hard on his skills, on his goal kicking and one-on-one drills, and in the gym,” said Mr White, a former Director of Rugby.
“He would do the extras, and that is clearly paying off for him now.
“When he was coming through the NRL was his dream.”
Lachlan Ilias also represented Australia in Youth 7s, and played for NSW in Schoolboys and Youth 7s teams.
He played CAS 1st XV rugby for two years and Trinity Grammar 1st XV rugby for three years.
He played for the NSW under 16s Rugby League team for two years as well as with the Balmain Tigers junior representative squads before joining Souths.