ICYMI, on Thursday the @NRL - National Rugby League released the 2018 #NRLDraw.
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UNASSUMING Dolphins centre Nick Emmett has gone from the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy. In the space of a week last month, Emmett tasted the sour bite of a suspension for tripping in a Queensland Cup fixture as well as the delight of a National Rugby League debut for the Broncos. As coach Anthony Griffin revealed in his Redcliffe Leagues News column last month, Emmett was outed for two matches for tripping Easts skipper Matt Lockyer at Dolphin Oval. The two-match sentence eventually proved beneficial as the Broncos and the Queensland Rugby League unravelled some paperwork for the 24-year-old Dolphin to run on for the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium against Cronulla. It was decided the Hervey Bay product had served his time by missing the City-Country fixture (for which he had been selected) and then the Dolphins' loss to Burleigh Bears. So Emmett found himself on the park against the Sharks for an upset 26-12 victory by an under-manned Brisbane side dubbed the Baby Broncos. "I was surprised at the speed of the game," Emmett said after his NRL introduction. "It was really quick and a lot more structured than I'm used to. "I was told that I just had to worry about myself. I wanted to get a feel for the stadium so I went out and warmed up and that got the nerves out of the way." Emmett said it had been a big surprise to be called up by the Broncos even though he had spent a week plus training with them and realised their stocks were bare due to their State of Origin commitments. "There was a different build-up for me because I didn't know if I would get a start for Broncos with the suspension," he said. "I was waiting around all week to hear what had happened. I was supposed to know Tuesday morning so from then on every time the phone rang I thought it was the Broncos ringing to say what had happened." As it was, he still had time to organise for his girlfriend to come from Sydney for the match and his family from the Gold Coast. "My brother Tyson is a soldier serving in East Timor and he's a passionate supporter so I sent him a message saying I would be getting a run," he said. The match went without a hiccup for Emmett, who played for the entire 80 minutes and did not record a single mistake. "I didn't do anything too spectacular. I just did my job and everyone seemed happy with that," Emmett said. "Wayne Bennett told me to just play my usual game and the whole team emphasis was on a 85% completion rate and don't make unforced errors. We played a very direct game and worked on their edges. The Sharks only scored two tries and they were from kicks so our defence did its job. "We just worked to our strengths and that was enough for us to win a match not many people expected us to. A couple of times I thought I might even get a try as I was calling for it close to the line but we went over anyway." Emmett said winger Scott Minto had proved extremely helpful during the match. "Scott talked to me all the time and really looked after me," he said. "He was the first one to come over at training and introduce himself and he really looked after me. "As it was, I had the full week with the side but I didn't train with the starting team until the Saturday morning before the match. "Shane Perry has been with the Broncos all year and he also looked after me. He trains really hard and is a great organiser on the field for them." Emmett's contribution was noted in the after-match press conference by Bennett, who also included him as 18th man for the away match against Melbourne Storm two days after Origin III. ``Nick defended great and carried the ball well,'' Bennett said. "The players welcomed him in there as well and he felt a part of it." Redcliffe team-mates Pat Gardner and Ryan Cullen also were called up for Broncos training. "If the opportunity comes up there are a few Redcliffe players who could take the step up," Emmett said. "Pat might have been close to playing for the Broncos but he did his knee in the City-Country match. Ryan also went close. "Wayne Bennett wished me good luck with Redcliffe and said to come along to training anytime I had a free day. He said I was part of the time and who knows what opportunities might come up down the track. "I want to win the Queensland Cup with Redcliffe and then just go on from there with whatever comes up."