MIKE Bishay reckons he has an advantage over the other players who have followed the path from Feltham Community College to London Broncos first team.
Bishay followed in the footsteps of fellow former Feltham pupils likes Jamie O'Callaghan, Olsi Krasniqi and Rob Thomas when he made his Broncos debut in the recent 30-30 draw against Castleford Tigers.
But while the others have all admitted rugby league was alien to them before being introduced to it at Feltham, Bishay has been playing with an oval-shaped ball, albeit under the union code, almost as long as he has been walking.
But that's no great surprise seeing as his older brother, Chris Bishay, is a former top flight professional union players with London Wasps.
Bishay said: “It's been a great inspiration for me that so many local lads have made it through to the first team, as it shows you don't have to be from up north or Australian to make it at the top level, but unlike them I have been playing rugby since the age of four at Staines RFC.
“My brother has given me lots of advice and been an inspiration too. I saw his life and wanted a piece of that action. He was back playing at Staines last season but is still getting over a knee injury.
“He's thought about switching to league, and maybe I can put a word in for him one day, but it's all about cementing my own place first.”
Bishay has played at half-back since switching to league as a teenager, but it was at hooker that he made his debut after coming on as a replacement at The Stoop on Saturday.
He said: “With Tommy Lee and Chad Randall being injured, the gaffer had told me there might be an opportunity at hooker, and I was disappointed not to be involved in the Magic Weekend.
“Then I made the bench for the first time against Castleford, and when I came on, he said just to go out and enjoy it and don't be nervous as it's a big opportunity for me.
“I just wanted to get a carry and get a tackle in as soon as possible, while the boys were telling me just to hit hard and run hard. I was told afterwards I had a good debut and was voted players' player by the other lads, so hopefully I will get another chance soon.
“It was just frustrating we didn't win as we dominated the game for 78 minutes, but a few lapses in concentration let us down.”