NZ league's next generation
Sun, 28 Oct 2012 6:49p.m.
By Dylan Moran
The next generation of New Zealand league stars were on display at Mt Smart for today's national age-grade finals.
Some of the youngsters are following in their fathers footsteps.
Tama Koopu shares the name of a Warriors legend and says older brother Wairangi is a great help.
“I'm living with him at the moment,” he says. “It has been quite tough following in his footsteps, but he's helped me along the way.”
While Koopu lead Maori in today's haka, it was the father of his teammate who used to fire up the team.
Tyme Dow-Nikau had a brief stint with the Melbourne Storm but has returned to New Zealand to focus on making it into the top flight.
“I'm just looking at good footy at the moment. Hopefully things fall into place after that. [I will] just worry about playing good footy and then hopefully things happen.”
The Maori lost 36-24 to a New Zealand residents side in top form, but with Koopu signed to the Warriors for the next two years, the Koopu name could be ringing around Mt Smart once more.
“It always comes down to how hard you want it and how hard you want to work for it,” he says. “So that's been my main focus this year, and next year [I will] definitely have a crack at the under 20s”
Another in action today doesn't have the famous connections behind him, but is working hard to make his name known.
Seventeen-year-old Reuben Rennie is a development prospect for the Storm, but knows getting regular game time will be tough.
“That's the goal for me – try and make the Toyota Cup squad for Melbourne,” he says. “But if I don't I’ll just play some ball and try and develop and make my way up thereafter.”
The new generation is sure to be a strength for the Kiwis in years to come.
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