Jaylen off to Sharks club coaching clinic
His statistics are impressive: 16 years old, 95kg and very quick.
That combination, which makes for a top rugby league player, has been noticed by the National Rugby League Cronulla Sharks team.
Mangakino Area School’s Jaylen Tupaea has gained a scholarship with the Australian team and will be joining them when they hold development players’ coaching clinics throughout the year. ‘‘It felt pretty cool (to be chosen). I get another chance to play league and to go a step higher,’’ he said.
Jaylen has played for the Taupo Phoenix for two years.
‘‘There was a big tournament held in March to make the Cronulla team. A couple of club teams came where we had a big game. From there, two teams were picked to play in the Cronulla and Warriors game. I was named in the Cronulla team.
‘‘On April 3, we had a talk with all of the Cronulla coaches and they said they were going to pick one player that they were going to give a scholarship to and they picked me,’’ he said.
Jaylen said he had a trial game in January in Australia and his coaches in Taupo said they wanted to try to get him over there earlier.
Coaching staff will watch his performance during the trial and will make a decision.
Jaylen hopes to be selected to play for the under 18 squad.
‘‘I just have to keep training and get fitter.’’
His mother, Kim Tupaea, said she was proud of her son.
‘‘I have always known that he had natural talent.
‘‘It has been a good year for him. Now it is up to him.’’
CHANCE OF A LIFETIME: Mangakino Area School student Jaylen Tupaea has gained a scholarship with the Cronulla Sharks rugby league team.