Former Merimbula-Pambula Bulldog Euan Aitken has landed in Scotland where he will play for the Scotland Bravehearts in the upcoming Four Nations.
Aitken, 20, is eligible to play for the Scottish national side through his grandfather, who was born in Glasgow.
“I cannot wait to start our week in camp over there before coming up against Australia first off the following week,” Aitken told Dragons media.
“My grandfather was originally from Glasgow and I had always spoken with my dad, who said if I ever got the opportunity he would love me to play for Scotland.”
Aitken was given preliminary selection earlier this year and said he was eager to honour his heritage given the chance.
“When the management group contacted me about the opportunity of playing for them I accepted it and cannot wait,” he said.
“It also allows me the opportunity to help grow the game globally and within the country itself which is so close to the Super League competition as well.
“It’ll be good to come up against some of my teammates as well and it will be a world-class experience so I cannot wait.”
Proud mum Jill Overend said it was touching to see her son honour his roots.
“Euan’s grandfather died when Andy was a baby so he didn’t know his father, but to think 64 years later Euan will represent his grandfather and his country.” she said.
“It’s good to see him honouring his grandfather that none of us got to meet with him passing away so young.”
Aitken said he was thrilled to play in the four nations and gain from the experience.
“We’ll be coming up against some of the best players in the world,” he said.
“With the calibre of teams involved ... the tempo will be a lot higher and no doubt help me grow as a player.”
Aitken said his ultimate dream was to wear an Australian international jumper, but would gladly take the chance to pay tribute to his family’s history.
Pulling on a jumper for the Bravehearts might cause a bit of a conundrum back home though as Aitken had previously joked that his dad backs the Raiders, not the Dragons.
“Andy does go for the Raiders, but he is always behind Euan,” Jill said with a laugh. “That Raiders game was funny where Euan intercepted.”
Aitken scored a winning try against the Raiders earlier in the season, taking an intercept on the siren and running in the four-pointer, and joked that playing for Scotland over Austraila raised some questions.
“In relation to who we barrack for, it is a tough one,” Jill said with a laugh. “But of course we back Euan first and foremost, then Australia and then Scotland.”
The Scottish roster will begin its Four Nations campaign against Australia on October 28 at Lightstream Stadium in Hull before meeting England early in November.