Brandon Wakeham handed shock debut

Dream debut: Brendan Wakeham celebrating on first grade debut for Canterbury on Sunday, with Westfields Sports High School in 2016 and for Fiji against Lebanon last week. Pictures: AAP
Dream debut: Brendan Wakeham celebrating on first grade debut for Canterbury on Sunday, with Westfields Sports High School in 2016 and for Fiji against Lebanon last week. Pictures: AAP

Former Westfields Sports High School student Brandon Wakeham had a NRL debut to remember on Sunday.

Wakeham, who guided Westfields to a drought -breaking Schoolboy Cup in 2016, helped the Canterbury Bulldogs snap a four-game skid against Cronulla on Sunday at ANZ Stadium.

Wakeham become Bulldog No.799 in the 14-12 win. The thing was he didn't know he was playing until he was on his way to the ground to play in the Canterbury Cup game against Newtown.

Rhyse Martin's immediate departure to the Super League meant coach Dean Pay made the call to the local junior who has played all his football in the blue and white.

The 20-year-old got another surprise during the game. An injury to Kieran Foran meant a potential 20-minute stint as a replacement hooker, turned into a 55-minute playmaking role which handled with aplomb.

Brendon's father Michael presented his son with his first jersey in an emotional presentation before the game.

Wakeham described the experience as a "rollercoaster." "I was four-hours early for the game. I was overthinking in my head; what to do, what not to do," he said after the game. "To get the call-up to play NRL...I couldn't ask for a better day."

The debut capped a big fortnight for the pivot who scored a try and kicked eight goals in a 20-point haul for Fiji last week.