Toko­roa rugby league player’s star keeps ris­ing

South Waikato News - - Out & About - LUKE KIRKEBY

Sac­ri­fic­ing what most teens take for granted has paid off big time for Toko­roa’s Aa­mon Dean.

The 15 year old league player made a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion last year to leave be­hind his fam­ily, friends and school in Toko­roa to fur­ther his train­ing in Auck­land. Now he has made the cut for New Zealand Rugby League’s New Zealand Res­i­dent 16’s team.

The play­ers in the 18-strong squad have been iden­ti­fied as the best tal­ent at 16’s level from through­out the coun­try and will take on the Maori Rugby League 17’s on Satur­day, in Rotorua.

Aa­mon, who caught the eye of rugby league scouts when he was just 13 and who is cur­rently con­tracted to Mel­bourne Storm, said he couldn’t be hap­pier.

‘‘It is pretty much the high­est hon­our I can reach for my age so it is pretty good for me,’’ he said with a beam­ing smile.

‘‘I had to go through rep’ teams to be se­lected for this team and heaps of train­ing with my brother [who is a rugby league coach].’’

‘‘Al­though we will be tak­ing on older play­ers this week­end I am pretty con­fi­dent we will win. I am look­ing for­ward to it,’’ he laughed.

He said mov­ing to Auck­land was dif­fi­cult at first but ul­ti­mately it’s been a good de­ci­sion

‘‘I did Year 9 at Toko­roa High but I’m now board­ing at Saint Kentigern Col­lege which has been a big change com­ing from here,’’ he said.

‘‘Sac­ri­fice is a big thing and you have to say ‘no’ to stuff like go­ing out with friends and par­ty­ing, es­pe­cially if you are train­ing the next day but it has been good though and I have slowly adapted to life up there.’’

Be­fore Satur­day’s game Aa­mon will be at­tend­ing a train­ing camp where he will get to know his fel­low team­mates.

‘‘It will be about team bond­ing, train­ing drills and get­ting to know each other be­cause that’s what makes a team,’’ he said.

Later in the year Aa­mon said squad play­ers will also have the op­por­tu­nity to take on an Aus­tralian side.

He said he just wants to make his fam­ily proud.

‘‘I am the only one in the team from Toko­roa to make the cut, most are from Auck­land, Welling­ton, and the South Is­land. I am not sure what makes me good, I am just pas­sion­ate about the game and play­ing and work­ing hard for my fam­ily,’’ he said.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Toko­roa teen Aa­mon Dean has made the cut for New Zealand Rugby League’s New Zealand Res­i­dent 16s team.

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