Ul­berg looks to prove a point at the War­riors

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Paul Ul­berg’s rugby league ed­u­ca­tion has moved up a gear.

The for­mer Aotea Col­lege stu­dent and Porirua Vik­ings premier grader be­gan his pre­sea­son train­ing with the Ju­nior War­riors in Auck­land two weeks ago.

He has done plenty of run­ning around Porirua’s hills and sweat­ing in the gym, but said there was the in­evitable ten­sion among the young hopefuls for start­ing po­si­tions next year.

‘‘It’s been hard out, es­pe­cially at this time of the year,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a lot of us and we’re all bat­tling for spots, so ev­ery day is about prov­ing your­self.

‘‘I’m used to this sort of work, but now it’s dif­fer­ent, there’s so much more on the line.’’

The Col­lege Sport rugby league player of the year has had a quick rise.

The 18-year-old cen­tre/wing made the Welling­ton Or­cas and ended the sea­son in the New Zealand un­der-18 res­i­dents side.

He won a spot at the War­riors af­ter im­press­ing dur­ing a trial in Welling­ton in Oc­to­ber.

The re­al­i­sa­tion of what had hap­pened didn’t sink in for days.

‘‘ I was of­fered a con­tract pretty much straight af­ter the game.

‘‘It was more re­lief than any­thing, and it hit me later in the week. ‘‘It was just an awe­some feel­ing.’’ Ul­berg is liv­ing with his aunt and un­cle in west Auck­land, but will be back in Porirua for a short break over Christ­mas. It’s un­likely he’ll be eat­ing a lot of Christ­mas fare, how­ever, with War­riors train­ing re­sum­ing on Jan­uary 6.

Four trial games be­fore the start of the next sea­son will de­ter­mine whether he’s won a start­ing spot with the Auck­land club.

His dream of one day play­ing in the NRL was in his own hands, he said.

‘‘It’s a big step for me and I just need to work hard.’’

Rapid rise: Paul Ul­berg has pro­gressed from tal­ented school­boy to War­riors hope­ful al­most overnight.

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