PNG Hunters hooker Wartov Puara jets off to trial with South Sydney Rabbitohs


It is a dream come true…Cliché maybe but for 24-year-old SP PNG Hunters hooker Wartovo Puara Junior, the grin says it all. A six weeks trial with an Australian NRL team! But not just any NRL team…
Its Russell Crowe’s Rabbitohs! And training alongside some of Aussie’s greatest; Greg Inglis, the Burgess brothers and Issac Luke, their current hooker. A lot of young PNG rugby players would have killed to be in his position right now.
Puara leaves for Australia today (Jan 2nd 2015) for a six weeks trial with the Rabbitohs.
A fine example of a home grown talent, product of the Agmark Gurias academy and fruit of the efforts of “super coach” Michael Marum in building talent right from school boys through to semi professional players and export quality talent.
His story is a success of the PNG Hunters efforts in exposing PNG’s young talent to Australian NRL teams.
Puara’s journey, like that of many PNG players, started in the backyards and school playing grounds. He vividly remembers playing rugby for his primary school, Tanaka, near the township of Kokopo.
He shone through the various tournaments and represented the province at the age of 16 with best friend and fellow PNG Hunters player and captain, Israel Eliab, in the 2008 Zone trials in Lae.
The next few years were a busy round of rugby tournaments. Each of them provided more stamina for the young player and propelled him into the lime light.
The Agmark Gurias eyed him for the earlier seasons but it wasn’t until 2011 that he made his debut with the team.
Marum, who was then coaching the Gurias, had Puara go through the “Gurias academy” with other school boys – an effort to develop their skills and get them into the Gurias.
That first game was a home clash at the “Grave yard’’ and young Puara was nervous. While he was eager to take to the field, he was the ‘little man” at halfback compared to the opponents.
He also made a mistake that would have the coach fry him for dinner; he dropped a critical ball. “Knowing how Mikes (Marum) would react, I kept my head low after the game and tried to stay away from him for the entire evening,” he said smiling.
“He is my coach but he is also a father to me,” Puara said of Marum. “He’s had a lot to do with my rugby career and I am grateful for his continued support from Gurias through to Hunters last year and now with all his advise for this trial.”
Puara has spent days talking to Marum about his trial, a big opportunity for him but he would also need to train hard and get his mind set for the next 6 weeks. Puara is one of the few players to make the PNG Kumuls selection after only playing in the semi professional competition for one season.
He made the team in 2011 and 2012 but was overlooked in the red and gold challenge for world cup selection in 2013. He was one of the outstanding players in the PNG Hunters – taking home the 2014 player of the year award.
Puara has spent the last few weeks in training with the rest of the PNG Hunters in Kokopo before the brief break for the festive season.
He heads off to Sydney today for an intensive training and trial with the Rabbitohs. “I have done a lot of thinking and preparation for this trial.
It is a professional team and I am excited to train alongside some of Australia’s big name players. There will be a number of players competing to make the team, the pressure is huge,” Puara said.
“And even if I don’t make the team, the training and experience I learn will help me.” He is also thankful for the efforts of the Nightingales (John and Darry) and the Agmark Gurias in developing his rugby career. “Gurias got me this far, without them, I would not have played at this level,” he said.
The young player also appreciated efforts of the PNG Hunters management and team and of course his family at Raim Village, East New Britain Province. “My mum and dad have never missed a game since I started playing,” he said.
Asked what he sees himself doing in the next five years, his answer was “playing footy”. Puara has also trained himself up for “life after rugby”. A short course at Vunabosco college a couple of years ago gained him a ‘helping hand’ title to his father’s electrical business. He hopes to one day work for his father but that day is a long way away.
For today, Wartz, as he is known to friends, jets off down under with our best wishes!


PNGLOOP
Tags: , ,

Comments

Thank you for visiting this site. Please share this article by using the social media icons below. We also welcome your comments

No comments:

Leave a Reply