Raiders halfback Brad Schneider is loving his opportunity to play first grade and admits it's been surreal to play with and against players he grew up watching.
Schneider has taken his opportunity with both hands and has played an important role in the side's first two wins of the season. He admitted that he is still ‘pinching’ himself about who he has had the opportunity to play with and against in his short career so far.
“I'm still pinching myself that I'm versing a lot of these boys from when I was younger watching them,” Schneider said.
“Obviously here we got a few older boys like Paps [Papalii], Jarrod Croker and that, when you're playing alongside them you're like ‘holy dooley’ this is a bit surreal."
As a young Queenslander himself, Schneider is looking forward to the opportunity to play against the current Queensland captain and Australian halfback Daly Cherry-Evans when the Raiders travel to Mudgee this Saturday to take on the Sea Eagles.
“Obviously you idolise him when you're younger, it's a bit surreal to verse him,” Schneider said.
“Coming up against a few big names like that, you look at them and holy it is actually you and you pinch yourself a bit but yeah it’s awesome, I love it.”
Schneider will be coming into this weekend's game against Manly with a lot of confidence after setting up the try to tie the match and kicking the conversion to win the Raiders second game of the season last Saturday.
“Knowing the ground [GIO Stadium] they sort of pull up a bit so I had to give the kick a bit to get it through and yeah it got a good bounce straight up,” Schneider said.
“It was a good moment and being a bit closer in I was pretty confident I could knock this one over, it's a good feeling.”
Schneider has formed a great halves pairing with Jack Wighton over their first two games together and it comes down to Schneider taking control of the game and allowing Wighton to play his own style.
“He’s massive, he told me to take control and let him do his thing, he’s good when he doesn't have to think too much and he just plays instinct footy and I just try to control the ship as much as I can,” Schneider said.
Schneider also admitted that head coach Ricky Stuart and current injured halfback Jamal Fogarty have given him a lot of guidance.
“They’ve been a massive role, obviously Stuart when I first came, he's been giving me a lot of guidance. Jamal, he does give me a lot of pointers and it's good for someone like him to do that for me," Schneider said.
Schneider knows that it's a long season ahead and just wants to grow and improve while he gets used to playing first grade consistently.
“Each week I'm getting more confident and growing, we're just taking it week by week, I'm just taking everything in like a sponge and every information I can I just take in and keep growing and improving.”