Sydney Morning Herald
"We're going to change you."
They were some of the first words South Sydney coach Michael
Maguire exchanged with Issac Luke in a heated phone call.
Little did Maguire know at the time that the exercise of
changing Luke would be more of a journey of self discovery as the
Rabbitohs rake went about revealing his true colours.
Luke was so ashamed of the way he spoke, he found it easier to
isolate himself rather than run the risk of saying something that
would humiliate him.
That is why only a few people know anything about his interests
and hidden talents, like his ability to play a song on the piano
just by listening to it.
Sitting in front of a Steinway & Sons piano inside Sydney's
City Recital Hall on Wednesday, Luke showed off his rare skill
playing anything from the Eagles to Mariah Carey.
Sarah Harvey, Sunday News
The New Zealand Rugby League is setting up academies
to stop a trans-Tasman drain of young players, who head to the
lucky country with high hopes and can end up
It's the loneliness that hits first. Then the homesickness, and
the culture shock.
Young men with bodies of fully grown adults struggling to
survive in the often cut-throat world of professional rugby
Teenagers as young as 15 from big families and supportive
communities adjusting to life, alone, in a new city and new
country, often with the expectations of a club and a community
Up to 700 teenage league players leave New Zealand for Australia
Some go because their entire family wants to settle in the
"lucky country". Others are lured by player agents or picked up as
development players by NRL clubs.
About one per cent will make it into the NRL, the rest will
return home with their tail between their legs, or be lost to rugby
For every bet placed on the Warriors home game against the Manly
Sea Eagles on Sunday, July 27, the TAB will donate $1 (to a maximum
of $16,000) to the #RiseForAlex fund, in support of injured
Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon.
The TAB give New Zealand Rugby League hundreds of thousands of
dollars every year from bets placed.
All profit from sports betting is returned to New Zealand
sporting codes - $4.2million was paid out to New Zealand sporting
bodies at the end of last season - or the New Zealand Racing
Betting on Warriors v Sea Eagles will open on Tuesday.
The NZ Kiwis inside pairing of Kieran Foran and Shaun Johnson
seem to be hitting their straps at the right time of the NRL
season, earning praise from their international coach, Stephen
Both were instrumental in guiding their respective teams to big
wins in Round 18. Foran scored two tries in Manly's 40-8 win over
Wests Tigers, while Johnson had a try and kicked 8/8 goals in the
NZ Warriors' 48-0 romp over Parramatta Eels.
"Kieran was on top of my list," says Kearney. "His performance
was the standout.
"But Shaun and his team also put on a dominant display, and it
was probably the culmination of a few weeks now. It has been a real
step up for him."
But Kiwis and Warriors skipper Simon Mannering simply continued
his run of outstanding form, with a game-high 168 metres and 19
tackles against the Eels.
"We all know he is now one of the premier forwards of the
competition," says Kearney. "The reason the Warriors are in the
position they are now is because they have him as captain, leading
"The people who know Simon all know what he offers to a
Have your say ...
We're running a competition so you - our supporters
- can vote for your favourite Kiwis performer of the week. Visit
our Fan Zone competitions page here to find out
Akarana second rowers Dylan Clark and Mose Esera were named Most
Valuable Players at the NZRL 16s & 18s national trials at
Rotorua International Stadium.
Tryscoring doubles from Clark and replacement Isiah Papalii put
them in contention for higher honours in the opening game, as they
led Team Vatuvei to a 34-16 victory over Team Wiki.
After three days in camp, the teenagers were eager to impress
national selectors and NRL scouts, and Wiki were quickly ahead,
when prop Steele Kake powered his way through three tackles for a
try under the bar, converted by Bostyn Hakaroa.
But Vatuvei showed their class with three tries in response and
Papalii seizing his opportunities to shine.
Papalii began the game on the bench, but made an early entrance
when one of his team-mates was helped off the field with an
He made a long run down the right flank and then charged over
from dummy half to open his team's account, then provided the final
pass for fullback Morgan Harper to cross moments later.
Papalii grabbed his second from a quick tap penalty near the
line, all three tries were converted by Dylan Tavita and Vatuvei
were up 18-6 after the first quarter.
Wiki could find little answer to their opponents, even as
injuries further diminished the Vatuvei ranks. Clark grabbed two
tries, scampering 25 metres for the first, after fielding a missed
Finally, with his side down 6-34, Kake showed his strength again
to provide some consolation to Team Wiki, securing his double.
Team Vatuvei 34 (Isiah Papalii 2, Dylan
Clark 2, Morgan Harper, Kenese Kenese tries; Dylan Tavita five
goals) Team Wiki 16 (Steele Kake 2, Tuteauru Maipi
tries; Bostyn Hakaroa, Kahil Johnson goals)
In the 18s contest, four tries to flying wing Ignatius Fiso was
enough to get Team Jones home 42-34
Team Jones jumped out to an early lead with four tries in the
opening quarter and extended their advantage to 28-6 just before
halftime, with Esera notching up two tries.
But Team Mannering came storming back with four consecutive
tries that got them back into contention.
Wing Tiaan Wilkins had earlier conceded a try when he misjudged
a high-bouncing kick, but made up for it with a touchdown of his
own and a final pass to put wing Logan Yates across.
When five-eighth Zion Ioka snuck across in the right corner,
Mannering were suddenly down by just two points with a little over
a quarter remaining.
Fabien Paletua-Kiri crossed for his second try to finally put
Team Mannering ahead, but Jones were not done, with Fiso running in
two before the final hooter to give his team the victory.
Team Jones 42 (Ignatius Fiso 4, Mose Esera
2, Amoni Tufui, Dre Melvin, David Saumolia gtries; Daniel Fulop 2,
Esera goals) Team Mannering 34 (Zion Ioka 2,
Fabien Paletua-Kiri 2, Tiaan Wilkins 2, Logan Yates tries; Richard
Timoti three goals)
NZRL National Performance Camp Awards
Leadership - Erin Clark (Akarana)
Respect - Luke Tipene (Akarana)
Passion Fruen Samoa (Wellington)
Integrity - Enoch Tautolo (Wellington)
Courage - Rory Ferguson (Southern)
18s MVP - Mose Esera (Akarana)
16s MVP - Dylan Clark (Akarana)