Tyler has one eye on a league ca­reer

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

‘‘I love the phys­i­cal stuff - run­ning at peo­ple is what I do’’

Tyler Smith plays many sports, but his heart be­longs to one.

The Tawa Col­lege Year 12 stu­dent took out the Col­lege Sport Wellington rugby league player of the year award on Novem­ber 6 and said it was hum­bling to be recog­nised for a solid win­ter’s work.

The Rand­wick and Or­cas age grade prop was one of three play­ers from Wellington se­lected to at­tend a New Zealand high per­for­mance camp, get­ting price­less ad­vice from Stephen Kear­ney while there.

He was a stand­out as his un­der-17 club side won the Wellington com­pe­ti­tion this year.

Smith is a late­comer to the code, hav­ing only de­cided to turn his at­ten­tion to it four years ago, when he was 12.

His rea­son for not play­ing the game in his younger days? He didn’t want to hurt peo­ple.

‘‘I’m quite big and league is about run­ning hard and straight,’’ he said.

‘‘I was also not that keen to go into tack­les - but that’s not the case any more.

‘‘I love the phys­i­cal stuff now - run­ning at peo­ple is what I do.’’

Smith, from Ti­tahi Bay, has spread him­self across a num­ber of sports, both as a player and a men­tor.

His at­ten­tion right now is soft­ball, which he plays at premier level as a catcher for Porirua City United, and he also coaches ju­nior grades.

He cap­tains the Is­land Bay un­der-17s and un­der-19 teams.

In rugby union, he has played for his school’s 1st XV since he was 14.

This year, play­ing at No 8, his team lost the premier 2 final to St Pat’s Sil­ver­stream 2nds and the Beard Tro­phy 21-20 to Bishop Viard - he scored a try at the death but the con­ver­sion was un­suc­cess­ful.

He is likely to fea­ture in rugby and soft­ball in the fu­ture, but his com­mit­ment is to rugby league.

His team is Cronulla, this year’s NRL grand final win­ners, and the man he wants to play like is rugged prop An­drew Fi­fita.

‘‘I’m up early each day, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween the gym and run­ning.

‘‘I’ve got to fit my train­ing around my Level 2 [NCEA] but I’m mak­ing it work and I’m pass­ing at school, which is the main thing.’’

Ul­ti­mately, he wants to get spot­ted by NRL scouts and base him­self for tri­als in Aus­tralia.

Along with coach­ing soft­ball, he helps out with North­ern United rugby ju­niors.

‘‘These sports have given me a lot so it’s im­por­tant to give back.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.