Topic: Rugby League

Junior Kiwis filled with new Māori talent

The Junior Kiwis team is filled with amazing talent, players who have been lighting up the NYC competition this year.

One player in particular only started playing league a couple of years ago and is about to make his Junior Kiwis debut tomorrow night against the Junior Kangaroos at Mt Smart stadium.

Could this be the next Benji Marshall?

Ngāti Kahungnu's Te Maire Martin was a rugby player and a national touch player until he tried his hand at league two years ago.

After moving to Australia and excelling at Keembra Park High last year where they won the National schools title he gained a contract with the West Tigers Under 20s team for this year.

Martin says, "I was playing school footy then they came to watch a game and the head coach said that I was going down to the Tigers so that was another shock."

Te Maire is clearly still in shock about his rise to the top and also getting selected for the Junior Kiwis.

“There's a few other halves that I thought would've made it, but yeah still pretty shocked probably won't really hit until tomorrow when the nerves come," says Martin.

His Tigers team mate Manaia Cherrington is enjoying being back in the country and the team he'll lead tomorrow night.

Cherrington says, "It means everything to me, especially where I'm from up North, they're all coming down so hopefully I can put in a good performance for them, for myself, for the boys and for my country."

Cherrington played in last year's loss to the Junior Kangaroos where they led after half-time but couldn't hold on for the win.

"We weren't completing our sets.  If you don’t complete your sets, you're tackling more and it's just going to wear us out," explains Cherrington.

With inclusion of some amazing talent and home crowd support, the Junior Kiwis could get their revenge.