School­boy shifts into big league

South Waikato News - - SPORT - By FLORENCE KERR

A ti­tanic ef­fort by for­mer Toko­roa school boy Keanu Daw­son has se­cured him a con­tract with the Gold Coast Ti­tans un­der-14 rep­re­sen­ta­tive as well as the Queens­land U15 squad.

Keanu’s mother and fa­ther Melissa and Paul Pu­toko who are based in Toko­roa are ex­tremely proud of their son’s achieve­ments.

‘‘We are so proud of him. It was a very hard de­ci­sion to make to let him go to Aus­tralia.’’

Mrs Pu­toko is talk­ing about the de­ci­sion to al­low their son, at age 12 to fol­low his dream of be­ing a pro­fes­sional league player.

‘‘My mum and dad were liv­ing in Aus­tralia with my younger brother Melvin so that did make it eas­ier. Our son has been hooked on league since age four play­ing for our lo­cal team the Forest­land Fal­cons. It was the hard­est de­ci­sion to make. Now that we have seen him re­ally grab this op­por­tu­nity with two hands and run with it, has made that de­ci­sion worth it,’’ Mrs Pu­toko said.

Mr Pu­toko added: ‘‘ He is the type of kid that fits right into any sit­u­a­tion. Be­ing se­lected into the Gold Coast Ti­tans ex­poses him to some great role mod­els.’’

Keanu at­tends Kee­bra Park High School, a school that is known to pro­duce top play­ers such as Benji Mar­shal to the West City Tigers.

Speak­ing from Aus­tralia, the hum­ble teen de­scribed his suc­cess as ‘‘cool.’’ In­stead of choos­ing a well known league player as one of his idols, the Toko­roa teen looked closer to home.

‘‘I re­ally look up to my un­cles, Melvin and An­thony. My idols are my grand­dad (Colin Daw­son) and dad.’’ The young teen’s fa­vorite player is Nathan Hind­marsh.

Mr and Mrs Pu­toko said the cost of their son’s am­bi­tion was ex­pen­sive but well worth ev­ery cent. ‘‘We have had huge whanau sup­port,’’ Mrs Pu­toko said, ‘‘we will look at run­ning a fundraiser in the near fu­ture.’’

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