MJ off to state trials
Rising star keen to display abundant skills on big stage
BEING chosen in the Wide Bay under-18 rugby union team before his 16th birthday was a very special surprise for MJ Havili.
From all the excellent players throughout the Wide Bay zone, Mundubbera’s Metali Junior Koula Havili has been chosen to go to Townsville to compete at the state rugby trials.
And he is well on his way to representing Queensland.
The shy Tongan lad, whose family migrated to Australia from New Zealand five years ago, has become a much-loved member of the Mundubbera State School community and on many sporting fields throughout Wide Bay.
Metali is known in his community only as MJ and his ability as a sportsman is represented well in athletics, rugby league and touch football.
But without a club team to train with or a local coach to assist him, MJ has stood out in rugby and he is setting himself up for a career in the sport.
MJ said he would like to play professional rugby when he progresses to the higher grades.
“Going to the state trials for under-18s is great, seeing that I don’t turn 16 till June. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step up now so I can get more experience in the sport,” MJ said.
“The more I play at this level, the better I will get.
“I love to play rugby and I will be able to catch up with my mates that I have played with over the last couple of years.”
Mundubbera school principal Peter Townsend said the opportunity for students to be identified and then be coached at this higher level was a great outcome.
“We are working hard at Mundubbera State P-10 to develop the skills of rugby union across the school and expose our students to higher-tier rugby,” Mr Townsend said.
“We have some young students coming through that will hopefully follow the footsteps of our older boys.”
The school’s Tongan liaison officer Julie Tucker said she worked closely with all the Tongan families, including MJ’s.
“I work to strengthen ties with the school and community as well as ensuring access and opportunity in whatever field they are interested in,” Mrs Tucker said.
“For most of the Tongan boys, it is sport, sport and more sport.”
MJ also knows the value of school and said he used to think school was just a place to muck around and find friends.
“When I have finished with my football, I would like to work with children,” he said.
“The importance of going to school and learning is not understood by most kids and I would like to work with them to show them how important it is.”
MJ Havili I am thrilled to have to an opportunity to step up now so I can get more experience in the sport.
YOUNG SPORT STAR: Mundubbera’s Metali Junior Koula Havili is on his way to Townsville this month to compete at the state rugby trials.