Te Kahi Nathan, Brody Tamarua (both Muriwhenua Falcons) and Caleb Aekins (Otaika Eagles/Hikurangi Stags) have been selected to trial for the NZRL 16s and 18s National Representative team from the 12th – 15th of July in Rotorua, at the NZRL High Performance Camp.
Te Kahi (Centre) and Brody (loose forward – stand off) represented the Northern Swords 15s team at the NZRL National Tournament. While Caleb (stand off), played for the Swords 17s at the same tournament. All three were selected in the shadow tournament team which sees them as one of the best 40 players in their age group in New Zealand.
For Caleb, this will be his second visit to the Performance having trialed last year as a 17 year old for the 18s. Caleb has been a stand out performer for the Hikurangi Stags Premiers this year where he has made the transition easily to Senior Football, as well as moving playing positions from Stand Off to Centre. For Caleb, the camp will hopefully provide him the opportunity to shine and gain an NRL Contract.
At the beginning of the year Aekins was juggling whether to focus on League or Union. He was Captain of the Whangarei Boys High 1st XIII as well Captain of the NorthTec Adam Blair XIII that played against the Warriors Development XIII as well as Captain of the Whangarei Boys High 1st XV. He had offers from Northland Rugby Union but decided to put his cards into League when he was noticed playing in the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy Final by prominent Player Manager, Daryl Mather.
All three players will have a chance to push for National honours in Rotorua, where 40 players at each age group (16s and 18s) will push for a place in the National Team, to play against their Australian counter-parts in October. The trial is based around the NZRL Mantra of “More than Just a Game.” As not only will they pit their efforts against other players on the field, but they will undergo comprehensive fitness testing, do workshops around leadership, wealth fare and career planning. The Camp will also see the players undergo position specific training, facilitated by NRL Coaches. Last year saw the likes of Roosters NRL winning Coach, Trent Robinson and NRL Kicking great Daryl Haligan, leading sessions along with Warriors Assistant Coach, Tony Iro and Academy Manager, Duane Mann.
Northland has had a good history of success at these camps, in 2012 Kadince Christensen Captained the NZRL 16s in a two test series, where he ended up gaining a development contract for the Parramatta Eels. In 2013 James Fisher-Harris (18s) and Steel Kake (16s) were both named in their respective train on squads. Both are currently at plying their trade with the Penrith Panthers, where Fisher-Harris is going from strength to strength playing in the U20s or in the Panthers Reserve Grade team.