Rarely do you get to make both your club debut and international debut at the same ground, for Penrith Panthers recruit Dean Whare, he will get that chance – as he braces himself for his international debut against Australia, this Saturday night at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville.
It was two years ago that Whare scored a hat-trick on debut against the Cowboys in Townsville, and the utility back is hoping for a similar performance in his Test debut.
“Townsville has been good to me, and it’s quite funny that I’m making my international debut there,” Whare said.
“It’s a nice symmetry, and I’ll go into the game with great confidence.
“I’ve had my best season for Manly, played 21 games, which is the most of my career, and I can’t wait to get out there and play.”
Having played at fullback, centre and wing, Whare regards the centres as his strongest position, and having former Manly team-mate Kieran Foran in the side, will help him.
“I’ve played with ‘Foz’ for three years now and we know each other’s games very well,” he said.
“I know a lot of the guys in the squad from my junior Kiwi days so fitting it has been quite easy for me.”
Whare has moved around a lot, having been born in Rotorua, before moving to Arncliffe, only to be acquired by the Dragons, before his eventual move to the Sea Eagles.
Despite some of his counterparts who have chosen the allure of Origin over representing their country, Whare says that he has never had any plans to do so.
“I am a proud New Zealander,” he said.
“I played Junior Kiwis and I am very attached to my country. The NZRL are flying up my mum and step-dad from Sydney and I think they’re more excited than me.
“The rest of the family will be watching on TV in New Zealand. There would never be any chance of me playing for anyone else.”