The Roar: Corey Payne deserving of his representative status

Corey Payne

Nobody in the National Rugby League epitomises the term ‘toiler’ more than Corey Payne. The rugged Canterbury Bulldogs backrower will play his first top grade representative game on Sunday afternoon when he runs out for City Origin.

Payne is the kind of player every coach likes to have in their side. There isn’t any flash or pizzazz in his game. But the Chester Hilljunior brings plenty to the table.

The workaholic prides himself on the little things. The one percenters that many fans will never see or don’t care to see. The backrower may not make the highlight reel every week, but he will never let you down.

After debuting for the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2005 and enjoying 47 first grade games, Payne was moved on. Not for any particular reason, there were simply players ahead of him in the pecking order.

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens quickly snapped him knowing exactly what he was going to get. That’s all coaches ever want.

So it came as no surprise that the Canterbury Bulldogs came calling in 2010. Payne should have always been a Bulldog. Chester Hill is the same club that brought us the greatest Bulldog of them all, Terry Lamb.

But Payne isn’t just a footballer.

The Bulldog is currently enrolled in a Master of Commerce at the University of Sydney. During his time at the University, Payne has created the Future Direction Network (FDN), an organisation which encourages students from South-West Sydney to pursue higher education by offering them mentoring, career advice and support to find and apply for scholarships.

Payne told how grateful he is.

“A lot of kids in the west think a place like Sydney University is for other people, not for them,” he said.

“The natural progression is to leave school, get a job and start contributing to the family. But that’s a short-term gain. We’re so lucky here.

“There are support networks available, scholarships available. And that’s where the University of Sydney’s disadvantaged students alumni funds really help.”

Payne donates his own money to the FDN scholarship fund every month.

“It is my belief that society is diminished when anyone of us is denied a proper education,” he said.

“That’s why the scholarship fund is so important. For me it’s a chance to give something back to the community that gave me so much and I hope to continue it for the rest of my life.”

Payne runs out on Sunday in Mudgee in his first City Origin jersey. It may or may not be his last, but does it really matter? Payne’s aspirations go a little higher than a City Origin jumper.

Some people are just winners. But that doesn’t come without hard work. Payne is a winner because he works harder than most.



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