MJ off to state tri­als

Ris­ing star keen to dis­play abun­dant skills on big stage

Central and North Burnett Times - - BURNETT SPORT -

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.

PHOTO: NOEL THOMP­SON

YOUNG SPORT STAR: Mun­dub­bera’s Me­tali Ju­nior Koula Hav­ili is on his way to Townsville this month to com­pete at the state rugby tri­als.

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