Warriors goal in sight for James Te Pou
Blockbusting rugby league centre James Te Pou’s dream has come true.
The Blockhouse Bay resident is training with the New Zealand Warriors under-20s squad after signing a contract with the club last year.
“I was very surprised but have always wanted to be a Warrior and stay home in New Zealand,” Te Pou says.
“I’ve grown up watching the Warriors and go to all their games.”
Te Pou signed a development deal with Parramatta, but when that contract expired in July, Warriors under-20s coach Tony Iro snapped up the talented youngster.
While they’ve only been training for a couple of months, the 17year-old says it’s tougher than anything he’s ever done before.
And a training session with the club’s first grade side, including Steve Price and Stacey Jones, was another eyeopener for Te Pou.
“They told me the people who work the hardest off the field will make it further and last longer.”
The Lynfield College student says he saw the work ethic of 34-yearold Price who stayed on the bike at training after his teammates had finished.
“He has to do it to stay up with the young boys.”
Iro says once they found out Te Pou’s relationship with Parramatta had ended, the club had no hesitation in making him an offer.
“James is everything you want in a centre. He’s big, mobile, very strong and quick to boot.
“He stands out in most games he plays.
“That’s usually a sign of a pretty good talent.”
Iro hopes Te Pou will debut at some point for the under-20s side in the Toyota Cup competition this year.
But he is wary of rushing the younger players that are still growing into the side too soon.
“It’s a really tough competition because you’re travelling every second week.
“The standard’s a lot tougher here than the kids are used to.
“Mentally, they’ve got to be preparing the best they can.”
However he admits there are always exceptions to the rule.
“Generally they don’t play that young, but if they’re talented enough they can play that grade.”