NRL Knights grab Khaele in dream deal

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - DONNA_MARIE MILNE

NATIONAL Rugby League club New­cas­tle Knights have signed up a lo­cal Cooya Beach teenager on a two-year schol­ar­ship.

Seven­teen-year-old Khaele Bowen be­gan train­ing with the club on Novem­ber 28 af­ter a suc­cess­ful year in ath­let­ics and fin­ish­ing Year 12.

Khaele has been man­aged since the ten­der age of 16 af­ter demon­strat­ing hugely promis­ing tal­ent.

As soon as the op­por­tu­nity came to snap him up the clubs came knock­ing, with the New­cas­tle Knights pip­ping the Syd­ney Roost­ers to the post.

Khaele re­cently had to make the tough choice be­tween ath­let­ics and rugby.

The tal­ented young­ster won the long jump in the World Youth Track and Field cham­pi­onships held in Poland last year and has also qual­i­fied for the national ath­letic cham­pi­onships in Syd­ney next year.

“I chose rugby league be­cause I pre­fer the team side of the game, it al­lows you to bond more, and means there is some­one there to push you in train­ing, rather than train­ing by your­self,” Khaele said.

The hum­ble teenager seems to be tak­ing every­thing in his stride.

“I had the trial with the Knights a cou­ple of months ago, I guess I played well and got of­fered the con­tract,” he said.

Khaele hasn’t had much time to stop in the last few weeks. He fin­ished school at Ip­swich Gram­mar, flew home for a whirl­wind week-long visit, then trav­elled down to New­cas­tle to be­gin pre-sea­son train­ing.

“It’s great to be play­ing with the team - the train­ing is hard, but it’s good,” he said.

’If I train re­ally hard, I hope to be­come a first grade player.”

His mum Leah is in no doubt that given his pre­vi­ous suc­cess he can achieve his goal.

“I am so proud of Khaele, he has been ded­i­cated since the age of 5,” she said.

His man­ager Clin­ton Ti­tan agrees.

“Khaele’s a great kid with nat­u­ral abil­ity and is will­ing to put in the work. He shows great com­mit­ment and ath­letic abil­ity,” he said.

“He’s new to the sys­tem, a blank can­vas. His tall frame will al­low him to carry some weight and stand him in good stead to progress from pre­dom­i­nantly play­ing on the wing to full­back.”

Khaele will be­gin play­ing with the Un­der-18s squad, pro­gress­ing to the Un­der-20s and hope­fully a ca­reer un­der Knights mas­ter coach Wayne Ben­nett.

Pol­ish­ing the sil­ver­ware: David Roche

Photo by AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

Off to the Knights: Khaele Bowen

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