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.