Talented Manawatu juniors see the door open for NRL opportunity

Signing new talent from across Australia and New Zealand is something that all clubs do and invest in, and the Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters have done just that, signing Te Aorere Pewhairangi and Piki Te Ora Rogers respectively.

Pewhairangi, 17, who is the younger brother of current Knights utility back Api Pewhairangi, will join the Eels Toyota Cup side, whereas Rogers, who is 16, will join the Roosters SG Ball side for 2013.

Pewhairangi plays in the centres, and was ecstatic in hearing the news that an Australian rugby league club had selected him.

“I was at home when I found out about it. There were a few fist pumps and a bit of a jump,” said Pewhairangi.

Pewhairangi, who is a student at a local New Zealand school, will fly to Sydney and head to Eels HQ for pre-season training in 4 weeks time – missing his final exam in the process.

“I’m pretty happy about missing it to be honest, I don’t think Mum is though,” said Pewhairangi.

He also knows the opportunity that is in front of him, and that hard work is required to get as far as possible.

“We start in the under-18s, they feed into the under-20s, then it’s the big time.”

Rogers, who plays in the back-row, was surprised the Roosters responded so quickly to him, particularly after he only expressed an interest on the same day.

“I was pretty happy about it. They told me not to tell anyone until the contract was signed,” said Rogers.

“I haven’t told too many people.”

The goal for Rogers is to one day play in the NRL and rub shoulders with infamous former player Sonny Bill Williams – and whilst the 16-year old admits he is shorter than opponents, he believes he has other attributes that help him.

“I’m pretty mobile for my size and I try to put in the big hits.”

Both played for the Tu Toa First XV Rugby Team, with coach Reuben Parkinson of the belief that they will be successful players.

“They have a good attitude toward sport and a solid work ethic around training and preparation.”

They have a holistic view of sports, school work and being good Maori boys – the whole package, Parkinson added.

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