17-year-old Wipere Takitimu is the newest rookie to sign with the Canberra Raiders U20 team. Te Kāea caught up with the Manukura student at the National Secondary School Rugby League tournament.
It's a dream come true for Takitimu.
"I'm very lucky and excited to have signed with Canberra for the next three years. Ever since I was a boy, they've been my dream team," says Takitimu.
He's a regular face at the National Secondary School tournament, NZRL's largest league event. At 14 years old, Wipere was sought after by a number of NRL teams and began training camps with the Titans in 2014.
Takitimu says, "At every corner of the field, there's big scouts here watching, so if you do well here there's no doubt you'll catch their eye. There is a lot of opportunity to be had at this tournament."
Takitimu is putting his final year of studies first before taking up his new contract with the Canberra Raiders at the end of the year.
"Mum's wise words is to keep pursuing my studies and pushing to get University Entrance accreditation, so I'm keeping my career options open."
For now, he's offering his teammates some support at the nationals while he recovers from an ACL injury. He expects to be recovered before he joins his new side in Australia.