Can­berra raid­ing our league tal­ent

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

Toko­roa breeds rugby league stars al­most as well as it breeds forests. And Dy­lan Clark is the town’s lat­est prodigy.

The 17-year-old has signed a three-year con­tract with the Can­berra Raiders NRL club af­ter 13 years of chas­ing his dreams.

‘‘I didn’t be­lieve it at first,’’ he said. Ear­lier teenager this year cel­e­brated the his se­lec­tion as a fi­nal­ist in the New Zealand Rugby League na­tional awards and last year his se­lec­tion as a mem­ber of the New Zealand un­der- 16 Ki­wis side.

But this by far trumps them all, he said.

The Toko­roa High School head boy will head over to Can­berra in March for his first stint with the club, and ev­ery hol­i­day af­ter that be­fore mov­ing there full­time to start study­ing and play­ing full­time next year.

All travel, living and study costs will be cov­ered by the club un­til the end of 2017, he said.

Clark, who signed with an agent at the end of 2014, said it has al­ways been his dream to be signed by the Raiders.

‘‘They have been my favourite team since I can re­mem­ber . . . My un­cle used to play for them.’’

Quentin Pon­gia was a prop for the Raiders from 1993-97 and in 2009 re­turned to be­come the strength and con­di­tion­ing coach for the Can­berra Raiders Toy­ota Cup side.

It is fair to say tal­ent runs in Clark’s blood, but so does a pas­sion for achiev­ing his goals.

And that pas­sion was recog­nised by nu­mer­ous clubs in­clud­ing the Bull­dogs and War­riors.

Clark said it was a fam­ily de­ci­sion to go with the Raiders.

The sec­ond-rower said he’ll start by join­ing an academy for 16 and 17-year-olds.

‘‘If I do well then the next time I go over I’ll go along with their un­der-18s team.’’

He said the next 12 months will be a chal­lenge, man­ag­ing school life in Toko­roa with his bud­ding rugby league ca­reer in Australia.

Clark said he has been train­ing at least once a day, if not twice, in the buildup.

‘‘They just said ‘don’t slack off, make sure you train’.’’

Clark said a huge thanks goes to his friends, fam­ily and the Pa­cific Sharks for all their help and sup­port.

Dy­lan Clark’s sign­ing with the Raiders was made of­fi­cial at the NRL Auck­land Nines tour­na­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.