Family proud of rugby star’s debut
A young Tokoroa rugby league star had plenty of support when he made his debut in Auckland recently.
When Jospeh Manu rang his family to tell them of his New Zealand debut on June 19 they were extremely pleased.
‘‘We were all so stoked, so excited,’’ said mother Darnel.
Joseph Manu has played for the Sydney Roosters for three years leaving behind his family and his home town Tokoroa to pursue his dream.
So when his family found out he was headed home for his New Zealand debut they loaded up a bus full of supporters and headed up.
The supporter’s bus took 60 people to Auckland while another 60 were waiting to support Manu at Mt Smart Stadium.
All supporters were wearing t-shirts that had Joseph Manu #5 on the back and Live It Up on the front in respect for his uncle who died at Christmas.
‘‘His uncle was right into Nike and his saying was ‘live it up nephew’,’’ Darnel said.
They arrived just five minutes before kick off, so Darnel said she was stressing out telling people on the bus ‘‘you better not make me miss my sons debut’’.
Throughout the game she said ‘‘I felt like I played the game with him’’.
‘‘We were just so proud and he was just so calm and ready for the experience.’’
Darnel said the Mount Smart manager approached the Tokoroa crowd after the game and said he’d never seen a debut like this one.
Manu might now be playing for the NRL, but he’s told his mother that it didn’t make him a celebrity and he didn’t want to be treated any differently.
‘‘He is still very grounded,’’ she said.
Darnel said she was felt proud watching her son out there and matching other players like Shaun Kenny-dowall and Jared Waerea-hargreaves and being at their level.
‘‘Its like he had that confidence about himself and he deserved to be there, and he is good enough,’’ she said.
In a Facebook post Manu said it was a dream come true to play in the NRL.
‘‘But to do it in front of my family is a whole lot more special,’’ he wrote. ‘‘I loved every moment of it. Thank you all was so overwhelming with all the support this whole week. Live It Up.’’