Carrying his family’s rugby league legacy
If a Tokoroa teen’s family’s history is anything to go by his dream of one day taking on the NRL’S top job doesn’t seem farfetched.
Being the National Rugby League (NRL) chief executive officer is Casey Clark’s ultimate long term goal.
But for now the 16-year-old is happy with being selected to play for Waicoa Bay Under 18s.
It’s not surprising that Casey has big dreams when it comes to rugby league, after all his koro (grandfather) George Tahapehi was one of the founders of the sport in the South Waikato which is renowned for producing top players. Issac John, Zane Tetevano and Joseph Manu are three of them.
His eldest brother Dane Clark was also the first recipient representing Tokoroa High School at the 2014 Indigenous Rugby League All Stars Camp in Brisbane, he played for Waicoa Bay U17s, captained the Bay of Plenty District Rugby League (BOPDRL) 17s and 15s, and captained Pacific Sharks U17s and Prem Two.
His other older brother Dylan Clark is currently contracted to Newcastle Knights NYC20, was the South Waikato Junior Sportsman twice, played for New Zealand Under 16s and 18s, Waicoa Bay, and BOPDRL, as well as captaining teams.
So Casey has been surrounded by rugby league his whole life.
‘‘My brothers and I trained when we were really young in our Koro and Nan’s backyard which at the time was massive. Everyday after school we’d go out the back and tackle and make moves on each other,’’ he said.
‘‘This created a bond of togetherness and a strength and mentality in all of us to be competitive while still enforcing good sportsmanship and brotherhood. I think that having those small competitions helped us all to grow as people and become better rugby league players.’’
He said it was important to him to continue his koro’s legacy and aim for the top while also encouraging others in small towns to do the same.
‘‘My long term goal is to be the chief executive of the NRL because I want to be inclusive of those people outside of the big cities. There is so much talent in our region and I believe they don’t get a fair chance to be looked at. If I do gain a top position in the NRL, I can make a change to that,’’ he said.
Tokoroa’s Casey Clark has big dreams when it comes to rugby league.