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January 10, 2003

Deaf rookie wins Broncos contract

From: News Interactive, Australia - 10 Jan 2003

By Steve Ricketts
January 10, 2003

CHRIS DAVIES will never hear the roar of the crowd if he achieves his dream of playing at Suncorp Stadium with the Brisbane Broncos.

But the thrill of wearing the Broncos jumper will be enough to give the profoundly deaf 18-year-old an adrenalin rush, with the first step in his dream of NRL glory already having come true.

Chris, a utility player, has been signed by the Broncos and has moved to Brisbane from his family's watermelon farm at Horse Creek near Chinchilla to prepare for the 2003 season.

His strength honed by five years of picking melons, Chris will start in the Broncos colts team which will play in the Toowoomba first grade competition, and if he has what it takes he will progress through the club's Queensland Cup feeder team, the Clydesdales, to the NRL.

Chris's mother Sandy has no doubt her son will go all the way.

"He's awesome actually," she said this week after watching Chris go through his paces at Broncos training alongside internationals Darren Lockyer, Ben Ikin and Brent Tate.

"He has been deaf since birth but we have always emphasised to him he is a person first and deaf second.

"He has played league since he was 10 and in his first season he made the representative sides and he has been in them ever since.

"His deafness has not been a problem. In fact, I think it has made him get to the point where he is today because he has had to try so much harder than other boys and remain focused.

"The visual part has taken over from the hearing and he reads play beautifully."

Chris's brother, Matt, 20, is also deaf and plays for Chinchilla in the Roma and District League where his talents have come to the attention of Queensland Cup club, Wests.

"Matt will have another season in the country to finish his boilermaking apprenticeship," Sandy Davies said.

"There was no history of deafness in my family or [her husband] Bern's. It was just a genetic mismatch."

Both boys attended Chinchilla High where Chris also played the saxophone in the school band. Chris wrote to the Broncos two years ago asking to attend a development camp. The Broncos liked what they saw and after monitoring his progress, signed him for their colts squad.

"He has level six deafness which is in the highest range, and hearing aids do not help," Sandy Davies said.

The Courier-Mail

Copyright 2002 News Limited.