Seagull’s legend Ben Ikin’s Origin call-up to State of Origin at the age of just 18 is fairly well known. So too is the fact that Paul Vautin, the Queensland coach at the time, thought that when Ikin arrived at the team hotel to report for a training camp, he was an eager teenager hunting for autographs.

Only months out of playing schoolboys football, Ikin had played just three first grade games. Sitting at home, Ikin was watching the Maroons team being named at home, when his jaw dropped.

Named on the bench: Ben Ikin, Gold Coast Seagulls, number 14.

It was also a proud moment for the man who ‘discovered’ Ikin and signed him to the Seagulls.

Tom Searle is a legend of rugby league on the Gold Coast and a life member of the mighty Seagulls. Know universally as ‘The Lion’, Tommy will host this series of interviews right here on the Seagulls website.