HE'S the young gun who has already achieved veteran status. Robert Badger received a unique honour, rarely bestowed upon a 14-year-old, when he was awarded life membership at the Penrith Swans Junior AFL Club earlier this year.
It came after the Penrith Valley Sports Foundation Junior Sportstar of the Month for November completed 10 loyal years of tackles, goals and stellar sportsmanship at the club.
Robert wore his first club jersey at age four, made his first under 10 representative team at age seven, played in the under 12s at age eight, the under 14s when he was nine and last season clocked up his 150th game.
The Cranebrook resident has also featured in representative teams every year since his inaugural call-up and he said he was proud to be given life membership at his club.
"There are not many people my age who get that," Robert said.
One of Robert's highlights for 2012 was being vice-captain of the Western Sydney under 14 representative team that competed at the Metropolitan Cup, where a loss in the opening game cost his side a berth in the grand final, despite an undefeated run from the second game onwards.
"We came third," Robert said. "It would have been better to come second but that's all right."
Another stand-out moment for the Hills Sports High School student was joining his school in finishing second at the NSW school championships recently.
"We were so close to coming first, we lost by three points in the last minute.
"It was tough because we caught the ball right in front, like 45 metres out, and just missed. It was a bit hard when they scored that goal in the last minute."
Last year, Robert was a member of the under 13 GWS Giants side, and next year he's hoping to line up again for GWS in their under 15s team as well as represent NSW at the National School Championships.
As a long-term ambition, the skilled centre wants to play for the club that represents his dad's home town.
"The ultimate goal is to play for the Adelaide Crows," he said.
Robert has won $400 courtesy of PVSF Junior Sportstar of the Month sponsor, the St Marys Leagues Club. To nominate, visit pvsf.org.au.