'You want to come home to mum's cooking' - Taranaki teen putting comforts of home aside as he chases NRL dream

Taranaki teenager Jensen Taumoepeau has put the comforts of home to one side as he chases his dream of cracking the NRL big time in Sydney. 

Taumoepeau, 17, is part of the Cronulla Sharks junior reps system.

Based in the south Sydney suburb of Caringbah with a homestay family, Taumoepeau says the big move to Sydney from New Zealand without his family has been tough mentally.

"I always miss home, growing up with my brothers and mum and dad," said Taumoepeau.

"Leaving them is pretty hard and not seeing them every day.

"It gets pretty tough at times, when there is a hard training session and you want to come home to mum's cooking."

Taumoepeau was snapped up by the South Sydney Rabbitohs last year as a 15-year-old and played in the New South Wales under 16 Harold Matts competition.

This year he switched colours and played for the Sharks' under 18 SG Ball team that went down to the Parramatta Eels 30-22 in the NSW grand final at Leichhardt Oval in May.

The youngster has had a solid season for the Sharks, scoring a handful of tries on the left wing.

Taumoepeau attends Endeavour Sports High School in Sydney and is currently playing in the NRL GIO Schoolboy Cup competition.

He stays in regular contact with his parents Lisa and Valai in New Plymouth.

"I message mum everyday just see what everyone is up to. It makes me happy," he said.

"I know I can go to trainings knowing that I have talked to mum, dad and my brothers."

He is also a talented rugby union player and made the 1st XV at Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth last year, where he played in the centres and outside backs.

"I've still got a passion for rugby but league is my number one. I just enjoy being on the field and playing."

His father played four international Tests for Tonga in 1994-1995 as a flanker and lock.

Taumoepeau will return to New Zealand at the end of September for a tour of the country, playing for the NSW Combined High Schools under 17 rep team.

Jensen Taumoepeau, 17, played for South Sydney Rabbithohs' U16 team in 2016 but this year played for the Sharks U18 SG Ball side. Source: 1 NEWS



'You don't want to run their way': Warriors' Alice Vailea says big hitters ready to deliver more brutal defence on Dragons

The Warriors second rower said there are certain players the Dragons opposition should probably avoid on the pitch. Source: 1 NEWS

Warriors star Alice Vailea isn't getting ahead of herself, despite her side's shock round one win, with her Warriors teammates ready for a fired up Dragons outfit in the women's NRL this Saturday.

The 22-year-old second rower had a more than solid outing in the Warriors women's 10-4 Premiership win against the Sydney Roosters.

She made an impressive four tackle busts, carried the ball for 81 metres and delivered some at times brutal defensive hits, throughout the match.

But Vailea says her side have a new challenge in preparing for a St George Illawarra side still smarting from a 30-4 hammering from the Broncos in round one.

"I think for us we enjoyed the win and I know that's one game, just trying to stay focused week by week," said Vailea.

"It's good to get the win and start the competition like that, but we have a whole new challenge ahead of us."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Alice Vailea of the Warriors celebrates victory during the round one of the women's NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
Alice Vailea of the Warriors celebrates victory during the round one of the women's NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium. Source: Getty

Vailea's skipper Laura Mariu provided the game's biggest moment in delivering an absolutely bone-rattling tackle in the final minute of the match, to cause a turnover and cement the Warriors win.

"Those girls (Mariu and Nu'uausala) you just don't want to run their way, unlucky for those girls (Roosters) they kind of ran into the wrong person and defensively those girls are always going to be gunning for you," said Vailea.

She admitted she never really took rugby league seriously until realising she could play on the NRL stage.

"Never thought this would come so soon for me, I've always been one to just chill out and watch the girls do their thing.

"But this year I thought 'I wanna try and have a good go at this'.

"To be able to be amongst this team and be given the opportunity to play out there, I'm just grateful for the opportunity.

"And to be a part of it is just amazing."

Vailea said her family have been a great support throughout her rugby league career.

"Mum wanted to come over (Sydney) but couldn't come over, but to have the support of my family and know I'm making them proud makes me happy."

Warriors coach Luisa Avaiki said she was proud of her side's efforts last week, but hopes to see improvement in her club's attacking plays this weekend.

"Attacking wise we want to be able to put on more of our plays," said Avaiki.

"And move the ball around a bit more even in our forwards.

"We did do a lot of single one-ups and that but we want to be able to run up in numbers."


Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to undergo surgery on knee after injury-forced exit from Warriors' NRL playoffs loss

The Warriors have confirmed captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will undergo surgery on his knee after his disappointing early departure from the NRL playoffs.

Tuivasa-Sheck will have surgery on Friday on his left knee after scans revealed a medial ligament and meniscal injury he picked up during the Warriors' 27-12 loss to the Panthers on Saturday.

"His expected recovery time is yet to be determined," the club said.

Tuivasa-Sheck had to be assisted from the field midway through the first half of their elimination final defeat to Penrith after his knee collided with Panthers rake Sione Katoa.

It was a disappointing end to the NRL campaign for Tuivasa-Sheck, who is considered one of the front-runners for the prestigious Dally M medal as player of the year.

The Kiwis will keep a close eye on the fullback with a Test against Australia in Auckland occurring in just over a month's time in Auckland on October 13.

New Zealand then play four Tests in a tour of Europe.

The 25-year-old missed the Kiwis' controversial mid-season Test against England, with Panthers fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak wearing the No.1 jumper.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck leaves the field injured against the Panthers
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck leaves the field injured against the Panthers Source: Photosport

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'He's human like everyone else' - Sharks skipper skipper rallies behind Josh Dugan after emotional break down

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen insists its imperative the playing group rally around teammate Josh Dugan following his emotional outburst at media negativity in the game.

Dugan battled tears as he opened up on his struggles on the battering his reputation has taken since being sacked by Canberra in 2013.

Gallen admits Dugan has this year been heavily burdened not only by an injury- riddled first season at the Sharks, but also by the off-field pressures.

"He's always got a bit going on. He does stress about things. He does stress about the way he's treated by certain parts of the media, how public perceive him at times," Gallen said.

"You probably saw in that interview, he's human like everyone else and sometimes emotions can get the better of you and wear you down.

"And I think that's what's happened to him throughout this year."

Dugan's comments come on the eve of the Sharks' semi-final against Penrith, where a loss would knock them out of the race for a second premiership in three years.

Paul Gallen of the Sharks. Source: Photosport

Gallen, who was at pains to point out the hours of community work the club does during the year, said the priority is to look after Dugan's wellbeing.

"I know how much Duges does for other people," Gallen said.

"He doesn't go looking for the limelight. He doesn't have a camera behind his back when he sees a kid in hospital.

"Other people don't understand that. When he gets bagged, he finds it hard to take because he knows how much he does.

"At the end of the day, we've just got to get him right mentally over the next couple of days and he's got to go out there and play his game on the field."

Sydney Roosters veteran Cooper Cronk weighed in on the saga, saying players handle criticism differently to others but need to access available support networks during tough times.

"Part of the exposure is the fact that players get paid handsomely for what we do," he said.

"If you want to complain or get upset about the exposure, then I think you probably hand back half your pay cheque because without that you don't get it.

"On the other side, everyone has a right to an opinion, but the individual determines whether they cross the line or not.

"Have people crossed the line? Rightly so. Have players done the wrong thing and deserved it, rightly so. At the end of the day we're all here to try make the NRL as best as it possibly can."

Dugan says despite the positive things he's done for the community he'll always be portrayed negatively. Source: FOX Sports Australia


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Roosters star Latrell Mitchell faces one-match NRL ban after crusher tackle

Sydney Roosters' Mr Fix It Mitchell Aubusson is ready to try to fill the big boots of Latrell Mitchell after the NSW State of Origin star was suspended for one game at the NRL judiciary.

Mitchell was found guilty of dangerous contact following a marathon 100-minute hearing last night, that took just as long as the Rugby League Players' Association did to review the entire season at their awards night down the road.

The Roosters centre will now miss the tri-colours' preliminary final against either St George Illawarra or South Sydney on Saturday week, before being able to return for the grand final if his team wins through.

And Roosters veteran Aubusson - who has played as a utility for the best part of his 12-year NRL career - said he was ready to step up at left centre when it mattered most.

"It's something I pride my career on, the shortest time I have had to prepare for a game is probably two hours, with Robbo (coach Trent Robinson) saying I had a position change for that game," Aubusson said.

"I'm really confident stepping in. I'll work hard. We've got two weeks to prepare for it and I'll take on a bit if I need.

"It's something that probably kept me in this team for a long time. It's something I really look forward to - the opportunity to play in different positions and to excel and hopefully do really well in that position."

Regardless, Mitchell's absence will come as a massive blow to a Roosters side already missing Queensland State of Origin prop Dylan Napa to suspension.

Mitchell has scored 16 tries, made 18 linebreaks and busted through 101 tackles to go with a breakthrough Origin series for the Blues.

"He is going to be a massive loss for us but if that's the case we have to go on with it," Aubusson said.

"It's a preliminary final so we have to aim up."

Mitchell was found guilty of dangerous contact on Josh Dugan in Saturday's elimination final win, but it was carryover points and weighting that cruelled the centre.

A cannonball tackle from the previous week meant he would be suspended for a game unless he could beat the charge, even with an early guilty plea.

However he failed to convince the judiciary panel he'd given Dugan's head enough space as he fell in the tackle, and did not speak to the media as he left the hearing.

Latrell Mitchell. Vodafone Warriors v Sydney Roosters, NRL Rugby League round 10, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. 12 May 2018. Copyright Image: Renee McKay / www.photosport.nz
Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell in action against the Warriors. Source: Photosport


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