In the spotlight: Henri Stocks

When Henri Stocks was a young kid, his ultimate goal was to be the best rugby league player in the world.

Now at the age of 20, Stocks still wants to be the best, but in a very different way.

Born in Kimbe, on the Papua New Guinean island of New Britain, Stocks has spent the past 14 years shaping his rugby league journey in Mackay, after moving to Australia at the age of six.

Throughout this time he has given up promising opportunities in soccer to focus on league – citing the off-field “comradery” as the trump card. He joined the Mackay Cutters Academy at a young age and represented Queensland in the under 16s clash with New South Wales in 2018.

He missed out on playing in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup in 2020 due to COVID-19, but has continued to thrive, joining the Hastings Deering Colts in 2021 and then making his Hostplus Cup debut in 2022, still a teenager.

It’s been quite the journey for Stocks and there’s still a long way to go. But what the past 14 years has shown him is the exact kind of “best” player he wants to be.

“I want to be someone that people look up to… just in the way I carry myself,” Stocks said.

“When I was younger I wanted to be the best rugby league player.

“But as time goes on you have to be more realistic. Now, I just want to be the best version of myself, whether that’s playing NRL or playing here and seeing the little locals.

“I do want to go up to a high level but you have to bide your time. I want to learn as much as I can and see wherever my abilities take me.

“When I was six I remember looking up to the Cutters boys here and wanting to be like them.

“Now that I am one of them, I mostly want to influence the young locals and keep them on the right path and see where they go and inspire them.”

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Rikki-Lee Arnold - Statewide content producer