From the schoolyard to the NRL
Tue, 04 Sep 2012 6:50p.m.
By Sam Ackerman
Passion is in abundance at the national secondary schools competition - but so is talent.
Demand exceeds the available places at this year's tournament, as schools queue up to put their students in the spotlight.
NZRL high performance manager Tony Kemp says everyone has a shot.
“It doesn't matter if you're living in Southland or if you live in Kaitaia, if you're good enough, they'll be attracted to try and get your signature.”
Every NRL club's recruiters will attend - but they won't be alone.
“Most sports will be here - rugby union, rugby league, AFL will come and take a look too,” says Kemp.
As the Roosters can attest, it's worth the trip. A year after discovering Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, the Otahuhu College graduate's now turning heads in the NRL.
Howick College centre Ruebenn Rennie says Tuivasa-Sheck’s become the poster child for this year's crop.
“Quite inspiring seeing someone who was only here last year now playing top side from the Roosters, hopefully some boys from here, myself hopefully, can follow in his footsteps,” he says.
Rennie's considered one of the most likely to do so. He’s already locked up for a move to Melbourne with the Storm.
Papakura High head boy Patrick Mailata's another in big demand - the 110 kg powerhouse is a natural.
“Rugby league's a good outlet for me,” he says.
“It's great ‘cause all I need to do is remember my line and run it as fast as I can.”
But the gifted teen's off to next month's World Youth Boxing Champs - so league has to get in line.
“Yeah I've got some doors open for myself at the moment, if I can get another open it will be a pleasure,” he says.
Many others will be hoping the pleasure's all theirs as they look to secure their sporting futures.
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