Lewis' NRL grit comes from Pop, not Wally

Scott Bailey
Bulldogs rookie Lachlan Lewis says he has his grandfather, not his uncle to thanks for his NRL grit

With Lachlan Lewis' gene pool, uncompromising toughness and composure under pressure was never quite going to be a question.

But not quite how you might expect.

The 22-year-old nephew of King Wally - arguably Queensland's greatest ever rugby league star - was bred for brilliance not by his uncle, but by the Immortal's own father in Lachlan's pop Jim.

Him, and truck tyres.

Because when little man Lewis repeatedly brought down Brisbane big man Tevita Panagai with ease on Thursday night in just his sixth NRL game, no-one should haven been surprised.

He's been training for it with his grandfather Jim - who played first grade in Brisbane and coached Wynnum Manly - since he was just five years old.

"When we were really little we didn't have too much money so we used to roll out inflatable tyres," Lewis explained.

"The inner ring and you'd have to tackle with your head in the right spot. I owe a lot to that.

"And just mental toughness and (being) willing to put my body on the line I guess. That was instilled in me at a young age and I guess I'm just keeping my technique up."

It almost verges on madness when you consider that at age five, those tyres would've been coming up to Lewis' head.

"It was like tackling a big bopper - you learn pretty quick that way," he continued

"They'd be about three foot tall and you get the belly of them, the soft part, you roll that out and then we'd hang it up in the backyard and I'd have to pass through it.

"I did that til I was about 13."

If the NRL has learned anything from Lewis' first games, it's that not much fazes him.

Impressive in his first five showings for the Bulldogs, Thursday's win over the Broncos was his coming of age.

He set up two tries in the win, proving himself to be the silver lining in what's been an otherwise disastrous year for Canterbury.

"I'm a pretty easy-going guy," Lewis said.

"In the top grade it's a bit of a blessing, you can worry about your own job. You don't have to worry about too many other people's jobs."

Lewis is hard to crack. He's had more written about him than most rookies because of his surname.

But it's the thought of honouring his grandparents that makes him most proud.

"To hear they've watched the game and think that I've played alright. Doing them proud is very humbling," he said.

"They've bred four boys, four Lewis, there's definitely something in the genes but they've got the Ballinger on my grandmother's side.

"They're built tough. They don't complain too much and they've got plenty to complain about. They're hard nut people but that's the most humbling thing for me."