Jaylen off to Sharks club coach­ing clinic

South Waikato News - - NEWS/SPORT -

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.

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