It’s easy to see why lawn bowls companies would want to sponsor Bradley Marron.
Of course, there’s the Bendigo East bowler’s sporting achievements, but it’s his maturity and level-headedness which sets the 17-year-old apart.
Representing Victoria in the boys’ triples and fours at the national under-18s championships in Launceston last week, Marron received some terrible news after the first day’s play.
Already disappointed with his triples team’s opening day loss, that paled into insignificance with the news of his grandmother’s passing.
Although devastated, the Flora Hill teenager handled his grief well, improving his performance over the next three days to help Victoria’s triples side win the bronze medal.
“It was a slow start we got, but that night I got a bit of bad news that my grandmother had passed away, so I suppose there was a bit of motivation for the next three days,” Marron said.
“The group of kids and the managers were really good, supportive and all that. After that we had a good three days, had a winning position for the bronze.
“I was actually happy with the way I bowled, especially the last two days with the motivation of my grandmother. I didn’t let it get to me, I managed myself quite well and bowled quite well.”
Marron may return to Tasmania to play in a Test series in December, but for now the rising star is focusing on completing his greenkeeper’s apprenticeship and tomorrow’s start to the Bendigo Bowls Division pennant where he will play at three in the Brad Holland-skippered division one team for Bendigo East.
While careful not to upset his studies, Marron has been spending more and more time on the greens lately as his career takes off.
Mid-year he made it to the semi-finals of the Golden Nugget, Australia’s most prestigious junior singles tournament, followed by a sponsorship deal with Taylor Bowls which has opened his eyes to the possibilities in the sport.
Since then he’s quit playing football at White Hills, where he played five senior games this year, to avoid injury.
“I did my knuckle two years ago and that still hasn’t recovered.
“It doesn’t affect my bowling, but one knock again, my finger’s out and it’s goodnight bowls,” Marron said.
His sponsorship includes using Taylor equipment and promoting the company, while he’s also been invited to Scotland in February.
It would be easy for a teenager to be swept up in the excitement of it all, but not Marron who is kept grounded by his father Paul, stepmother Lisa, as well as bowls mentors Alby Clough and Brad Holland.
“I’ve got to think about it, because it would be the start of the school year – I don’t want to be missing too much to start with,” he said
While it’s been a meteoric rise for Marron, who didn’t start rolling a bowl until he was 12, he’s got big ambitions.
“Ultimately, you want to try to be the best and be the face of the sport, I suppose,” Marron said matter-of-factly.
“But you take it as it goes, you know. You play in tournaments, you’re hoping to win tournaments, if you win them then people recognise you. If people recognise you, happy days.”
You get the feeling he’ll be more recognisable very soon.