Baylie Inspires With Rugby Skills

14-year-old Windsor local Baylie O’Keefe is paving his way as one of the brightest and most dedicated young rugby stars in the Hawkesbury as he thrives at all levels of competition.

Whether it’s a local, national or international venture, Baylie’s dedication to the sport is apparent to everyone around him. Recently, he was selected to represent Australia in the national under 14’s rugby league team; a testament to his incredible dedication to the sport.

Baylie explains his training routine: “I go to the gym in the mornings, and Monday to Friday I do skills on the field, practicing passing the ball and tackling techniques. On Wednesday I do speed and fitness training at MetaStrength with Luke Gordon to get faster and fitter.

Then on Saturdays I play rugby, and Sunday is my rest day.” Even two recent injuries haven’t been able to keep Baylie down – he was back on the field 5 weeks after an ankle injury that should have seen him out of action for 8-12 weeks.

From the moment Baylie started playing rugby in 2018 for the Windsor Wolves, his talent for the sport was undeniable, according to his mum Kellie Hollingshed. She says: “He was just a gun on the field. Baylie’s played at three different clubs now, and last November he went to Fiji with some of his teammates in Hawkesbury Hawks where they played against two teams over there. And Baylie’s was the first club to smash them!”

Baylie o’keefe (right) with link wentworth ceo andrew mcanulty (left)

However, Baylie and Kellie are both aware that supporting a flourishing sports star is rather expensive. Kellie says: “I’m a single mother of three kids, and it’s often hard to make ends meet. The costs for Football registration, personal training, and buying rugby equipment all adds up very quickly.”

Understanding the costs for talented athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds, Baylie applied for and received a grant from the Link Wentworth Scholarship Program to alleviate costs associated with his rugby dreams. “The grant has been really useful,” he says. “With the money, we’ve gotten two pairs of boots, and special socks that will stop my calves from cramping while playing.”

Over the past 12 years, the Link Wentworth Scholarship Program has delivered 700 scholarships to people needing assistance to soar to greater heights. Link Wentworth CEO Andrew McAnulty says: “The Program demonstrates our firm belief that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

We are committed to enabling a brighter future for people facing housing stress or homelessness, and meeting people like Baylie is a great example of the profound impact these supports can have on individuals.”

Baylie is now looking to reach even higher with his rugby career, aspiring towards a career as a professional football player, all while inspiring people in his community and beyond. Kellie says: “Each week, I wait for Saturday to watch him play footy – I’m probably the loudest parent on the sideline, and when he gets off the field he tells me all he can hear is my yelling! But I couldn’t be any more proud of him, and I hope he keeps up the good work he’s been doing.”