Dual code star’s eyes fo­cused on fu­ture


Be it rugby league or soft­ball, Tyler Smith from Tawa Col­lege is con­tin­u­ously push­ing the limits.

His busy sched­ule in­volves him train­ing ev­ery day be­fore school then he is straight back at it when the bell rings.

‘‘I don’t have much time for a so­cial life,’’ the 17-year-old said.

It’s the real­ity of be­ing a duel code sports star and he knows that is what it’s go­ing to take to achieve his dreams of play­ing for both the Black Sox (soft­ball) and the Ki­wis (rugby league).

He was named in the Ju­nior Black Sox wider train­ing squad and will meet up with the New Zealand un­der-17 rugby league team in Hamil­ton dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

Through all his suc­cess he has re­mained re­mark­ably well grounded and he knows there are big de­ci­sions to be made on the hori­zon.

‘‘There might come a time when I have to de­cide [be­tween league and soft­ball], hope­fully not.’’

He has al­ready had to cut back on his first XV rugby re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a re­sult of these com­mit­ments. The long-time No 8 de­cided against con­tin­u­ing in a team he has been a part of since he was 14 af­ter in­jur­ing his shoul­der last year.

Chas­ing a place in the NRL is Tyler’s im­me­di­ate plan fol­low­ing his fi­nal year at school. He has known more than one player who has made the leap across the Tas­man in search of their place in rugby league’s tough­est compe- tition.

He tries not to get to caught up in the ex­cite­ment and is keep­ing his feet held firmly on the ground.

‘‘You have to be re­al­is­tic about your op­tions,’’ he said with one eye fixed firmly on the fu­ture. Not ev­ery­one is go­ing to make the Ki­wis.’’

He cares a lot about his ed­u­ca­tion and plans to go to Waikato Uni­ver­sity to study a Bach­e­lor of Sport, Health and Hu­man Per­for­mance.

Tyler’s sport­ing suc­cess is not re­stricted to the play­ing pitch. He has taken on many sup­port­ing roles through­out var­i­ous sports dur­ing his time at high school.

Whether as a player-coach of his soft­ball team, or coach­ing the girls’ first XV he has made sure to give back to the sports he loves.

‘‘I don’t do any­thing I don’t en­joy,’’ he said. ‘‘Coach­ing the girls is a lot of fun and they lis­ten far more than the boys.’’


Tawa Col­lege stu­dent Tyler Smith, 17, is hop­ing to be a dual code sports star in soft­ball and rugby league.

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