Se­lec­tion gives fuel to NRL dream

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Dreams of play­ing for the Na­tional Rugby League [ NRL] are within reach for Keanu Daw­son who has been se­lected for the Queens­land Un­der 18 team for State of Ori­gin.

The for­mer Toko­roa boy moved to Aus­tralia five years ago and was signed to the Gold Coast Ti­tans U14 rep­re­sen­ta­tive side as well as the Queens­land U15 squad.

Now at 18 years old, the Burleigh Bears Colts player has moved up the ranks and will play his first game on June 17 in Mel­bourne.

The 108kg front row prop was anx­ious about the match against New South Wales.

‘‘Just know­ing both states hate each other and both want to win.’’

The pres­sure was on but when he was one of 18 to be se­lected out of ‘‘ hun­dreds’’ of hope­fuls, it ap­peared his tal­ents earned him the spot.

In prepa­ra­tion for the game, he’s fo­cused on train­ing both his body and mind. ‘‘Ev­ery­one can be phys­i­cally ready but if you’re not men­tally ready, you’re go­ing to get left be­hind.’’

With that goal in mind, Daw­son has made sure to rule out any dis­trac­tions and make ‘‘ pos­i­tive choices’’ in or­der to move up in the world of league.

‘‘I def­i­nitely hope to play NRL, that’s the big goal.’’

Daw­son has played league from about 5 years old and was taught by many of his league-mad fam­ily who were all sup­port­ive no mat­ter what ven­tures he went on.

One of those is his grand­fa­ther, whom he lives with in Aus­tralia.

‘‘He’s done ev­ery­thing for me like tak­ing me to train­ings.

Coach An­thony Sei­bold said he’s yet to see more of Daw­son’s tal­ents but was ex­cited by his per­for­mance in the Ju­nior Emerg­ing State of Ori­gin Camp.

‘‘I was re­ally im­pressed with the way he trained in that camp. He’s a re­ally ag­gres­sive ball car­rier.’’

Sei­bold said he looked for­ward to see Daw­son in the start row.

While train­ings will be ‘‘typ­i­cal’ for the elite play­ers, their se­lec­tion is a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence league at a higher level, he said.

Keanu Daw­son

has been se­lected out of hun­dreds to play

in the Queens­land Un­der 18 league

team.

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