THE STAR of former McAuley Catholic College student Jed Holloway is continuing to rise after his first game as a New South Wales Waratah.
After enjoying a Shute Shield season, which included a grand final appearance for Southern Districts, the 2012 rookie of the year was awarded an extended player squad contract with NSW.
Holloway played his second game for the Waratahs against the Crusaders last night.
He scored a try in his debut against the Blues in Auckland, which he described as "surreal".
"It was pretty surreal to be playing for the Waratahs especially since two to three years ago I was playing for Yamba Buccaneers," Holloway said.
"I would never have thought I'd be playing for the Waratahs a few years back and even now I have to pinch myself to make sure it is real."
While the idea of training, warming up and playing alongside some of the biggest names in Australian is often a dream, it is the reality of Holloway's year to come.
As daunting as the experience could be, a familiar face and long-time role model has helped Holloway settle in.
"I grew up with Kane (Douglas) and have replicated his career a bit," Holloway said.
"He was someone I wanted to be like and it's pretty cool to be playing with him."
Their playing days together can be traced back to the under-13 Buccaneers when Holloway was just 11.
Since those early days, Holloway has shadowed Douglas's movements for most of his career.
Just as Douglas did a few years earlier, Holloway moved to Sydney and played in the back row for Southern Districts.
Their careers, and some aspects of their personal appearance, haven't been missed by their teammates, who Holloway said gave them a hard time about.
"We cop it all the time from the boys," Holloway said.
"The way our careers have been similar and we both have freckly skin so they give it to us."
If his career pans out anything like Douglas, Holloway could be looking at fulfilling one of his next goals - getting a run in Super Rugby.
While admitting it was hard to say what could happen this year career-wise, Holloway's selection in the trial games by coach Michael Cheika is a sign there could be bigger things to come.
"It is hard to say as a rookie, but I would love to play Super Rugby," Holloway said.
"If I don't play for the Waratahs I hope I can play well for Southern Districts and maybe go one better."