NEWCASTLE Falcons prop Darren Fearn is hoping that he can nail down a place in the starting line-up at Kingston Park in 2012.
2011 has been a productive year for Fearn, who has managed to make appearances for the first team in both the AVIVA Premiership and in Europe, and he also managed his first try for the first team against London Irish in September.
Now the former Pindar School pupil has set his sights on becoming a first team regular, but he is also wary of the competition for places at the Falcons ,and the hard work required to get him to where he wants to be.
Fearn said: “There have been some ups and downs in 2011.
“I have had some good opportunities and good experience but as a team we haven’t been getting the results we’d like to.
“But everything seems to be clicking into place for both me and the team now.
“Looking forward to the next 12 months I’d like to get as much game time as possible.
“But at the same time it’s hard to think that far ahead as anything can happen in professional sport.
“I know I just need to keep my head down and keep grafting and the rewards will come.”
Fearn is learning off some of the best players around, especially in his position, with Scotland prop Euan Murray showing him the ropes.
And Fearn is loving every minute of his apprenticeship.
He added: “As a young prop I’m learning all the time at the club.
“I get a lot of different help and advice from the likes of Euan and Jonny Golding, but of course the coaches play a key role in my development.
“I have also had more game time this year which I have enjoyed and it was a good experience playing in front of big crowds and on TV, so everything is helping me develop.
“I am learning and it helps being around experienced Premiership players and internationals.”
Fearn also points to his Dad Shaun as a massive influence. He added: “The whole family have been a great support to me.
“As a young lad my Dad was my idol, I’d go and watch him week in week out playing for Scarborough. His support has been massive for me.”