In a sign that there is rugby league talent all across the globe, eagerly awaiting their respective chances to play in big leagues – the Cowboys have unearthed a talented young player from Vanuatu in Kunro Kalo, who has been signed on a train and trial contract.
Kalo, who had a stellar performance in a recent international for Vanatu against Greece two months ago in Port Vila, was spotted by Cowboys officials, who gave him the opportunity to push for a potential spot in the Cowboys Toyota Cup side.
Making a transition to rugby league from rugby sevens, Kalo is seen as a long-term prospect for the club, should he be awarded a spot – but if the Vanuatu RL player does end up making it, he will be the first player born and raised in Vanuatu, to play NRL.
My house was just made of tin but it was OK. We had pigs and chickens everywhere too,” Kalo said.
“People back home are pretty amazed I am here.
“The Cowboys have been great to me. I am learning a lot.
“My fitness is good, but there is so much else to learn. It is now my dream to play in NRL.”
Kalo admits that a short time ago, he had never heard of Johnathan Thurston, but with the opportunity to now watch him train, he revels in the man and the player.
“I never dreamed any of this could ever happen to me,” Kalo said.
“I see Johnathan in the paper and on television all the time and I realise he must be a big star and then there he is at training.
This is amazing.”
This is not the first time that Kalo has been in Australia, with League Development Officer in RL, and a key factor in the push for rugby league in several countries in Dane Campbell bringing him to Australia – with Campbell backing Kalo to play NRL one day.
“He's freakish,” Campbell said.
“He really has great talent and not only is he an athlete but he's also quite skilled with the ball and played halfback for Vanuatu.”
The Cowboys are looking forward to seeing what Kalo can do, with U20's coach Todd Wilson citing the raw ability of Kalo, and is willingness to learn.
“He's very raw but he's a real athlete. He's a really good kid too who always asks questions and really wants to learn.”