Player devel­op­ment pro­gramme hav­ing pay­offs

South Waikato News - - Your Health - ALAN UTANGA

Peren­nial Bay of Plenty premier rugby league club Pa­cific Sharks have es­tab­lished as part of its player devel­op­ment pro­gramme, a path­way for play­ers want­ing to pur­sue

rugby league out­side the dis­trict and even abroad.

Rookie of the year, Zac Van den Berg, has har­bored dreams of play­ing rugby league at the high­est level and even over­seas. For­mer Toko­roa High XIII cap­tain, Van den Berg like his pre­de­ces­sors, is des­tined for Welling­ton premier club, Te Aroha Eels.

He will link up with the team cap­tain and for­mer Pa­cific Shark, An­thony Utanga and gain em­ploy­ment as well as the op­por­tu­nity to study at Wel­tec.

De­pen­dent upon his progress as a player, a late de­vel­oper, he has the po­ten­tial to be linked with NRL feeder clubs in Syd­ney, ac­cord­ing to his li­ai­son per­son with Te Aroha, Marama Puke­tapu.

Van den Berg spent his early school­ing years at Cargill and North pri­mary be­fore pro­gress­ing onto Toko­roa In­ter­me­di­ate and For­est View High School where he played

first fif­teen rugby as a loose for­ward from year 11.

Last year, also his fi­nal year of sec­ondary school­ing he flirted with rugby league at Toko­roa High school and in­stantly the dy­namic for­ward con­verted.

Van den berg has his par­ents Mike and Ken­dra to thank for his devel­op­ment as a per­son and in his en­deavor as an ath­lete as well as Gary Ward and Cheree Thom­sen.

He also thanks Iwi Ben­nion of For­est View, Nooroa Manu and Tama Teaukura of Toko­roa High, Neville Takiri, Pan­iora Daniels, AJ Pur­nell and Marama Puke­tapu.

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