Tyrel Lomax, son of Raiders star John Lomax, will represent the ACT under 16 rugby union team. Photo: Colleen Petch
TIPPING the scales at a whopping 125 kilograms, it's easy to see the resemblance between Tyrel Lomax and the former Canberra Raiders front-rower he calls dad.
There is just one key difference - unlike New Zealand rugby league international John Lomax, this 16-year-old giant is quickly making his name in the rival code.
Emerging prop Tyrel will be packing down in scrums for the ACT Brumbies under-16s representative team at the Australian championships in Sydney, starting tomorrow.
His father earned a reputation as a powerhouse front-rower for the Raiders during the 1990s.
John Lomax played 65 games for the Green Machine from 1993 to 1996, but famously missed the club's most recent premiership in 1994 after being suspended in the preliminary final.
The under-16 Brumbies also features the nephew of Raiders great Laurie Daley, goal-kicking outside centre Tom Evans.
And while he won't be in action at this tournament, Australian Schoolboys (under-18) prop Neori Nadruku, the son of flying Fijian winger Noa, outlines the strong Raiders connection in the junior rugby union ranks in the ACT.
Tyrel grew up in Wellington before moving to Canberra at the start of last year.
He had been earmarked in the development system with the Raiders and played club rugby league in Canberra, but made the agonising decision to concentrate all his efforts into rugby union.
''Moving back to Canberra opened up an opportunity in rugby league, but whichever one I was going further with I decided to stay with,'' Lomax said.
''Everyone thought I would follow in dad's footsteps and live up to the last name.
''It's pretty tough, everyone expects me to be just like him.''
Playing in the first XV was the ultimate achievement at his old school, just as it is at St Edmund's College.
With past students including the likes of Wallabies greats George Gregan and Matt Giteau, Lomax is getting a crash course in his chosen code.
He's worked alongside Brumbies props Ben Alexander and Dan Palmer and forwards coach Laurie Fisher as part of the ARU junior gold squad, which also contains Evans.
''I didn't take [rugby union] that seriously over there [in New Zealand], I've learnt everything I know now from being in Canberra,'' Lomax said. ''It's very professional with everything we do.''
The Brumbies under-16 coach Russell Ingram said Lomax had the raw potential to make an impact at the higher level.
''In the last couple of years his rugby has really come on,'' Ingram said.
''He's a good size and a great shape for an elite front-rower. We've got great hope for him and I think the game of rugby suits him.''
The Brumbies kick off their under-16 national championships campaign against the Queensland Reds tomorrow.