After a disastrous first three rounds for the club the tables turned on ANZAC Day against Eastern Suburbs. Since that win the "Galloping Greens" have made a recovery, notching up four solid wins.

One young man who has been partly responsible for Randwicks recent form is 21 year old inside centre Nick Wilkinson. Wilkinson is a country lad from Cowra and grew up playing in the same Walla rugby side as Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes for the Cowra Eagles. Growing up Wilkinson played plenty of sports but mostly leaned towards Rugby League in his early teenage years. In 2014 he moved to Sydney to attend rugby nursery St Josephs College in Hunters Hill.

That same year Wilkinson steered around the Balmain Tigers' Harold Matthews side at five-eighth before playing two years of 1st XV for Joeys in 2015 and 2016, captaining the side in the second year. Those leadership qualities have transpired into club land where at just 21 he is the club captain of one of the most famous rugby clubs in Australia. While his on-field performances have been impressive it is the work that he does off it for the club that his coach Hadley Jackson admires.

“He’s actually impressed with the way he’s taken a lead on things that a young bloke wouldn’t necessarily take a lead on," said Jackson. "He’s extremely mature for a first year grade player and he’s been really amazing for the club."

Wilkinson is a graduate of the well-known and highly successful Randwick Colts system and is in his third year of a Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW. Having been a part of the premiership winning First Colts side last year and possessing great leadership skills it was an easy ask for “Wilko” to be Club Captain.

“He’s a very well respected bloke and liked by everyone at the club," said Jackson. "It’s very impressive for a 21 year old to seamlessly slot into the role and he’s doing a great job."

While running the off-field events, involving the club in community engagements and meeting weekly with the clubs leadership group are a part of his role, Wilkinson says it’s more of a pleasure than a chore.

“It’s good mate, it was a bit of surprise when they first asked me but it’s been a great experience so far,” he said.

Wilkinson came into the First Grade side in Round 2 after a disrupted pre-season and hasn’t looked back since.

“He picked up a little injury in pre season and couldn’t play till Round 2 where he came into centres," said Jackson. "I think his watershed moment was on ANZAC Day against Easts, he was sensational that day and was probably the difference for us. He keeps growing every game and he belongs at this level.”

While Wilkinson played half the season in Second Grade last year before moving back into Colts he admits the step up to the top grade has taken some getting used to.

“Its obviously physical and very fast paced," he said. "The body takes some extra time to recover but I’m loving it.

With Wilkinson being a former rugby league five eight he can utilize himself as a ball player while also doing the tough stuff. “Wilko is an easy bloke to work with," said Jackson. "He’s a physical player but also a ball player."

This article originally appeared on the Intrust Super Shute Shield website