General Hurrell article

Spence_old

Guest
Konrad Hurrell - there's a name to put in the hat and for a number of reasons. Hurrell, who made his first team debut for the Warriors in a pre-season game against the Gold Coast on Saturday, is a potential NRL star in either the problem position of centre or perhaps as a wing.

There are, of course, no guarantees about Hurrell's future in the tough NRL arena and his defence has been questioned. But on his sensational Toyota Cup form the potential is enormous, and his union-to-league story is fascinating in the context of a changing landscape in Auckland sport.

Here's the nub. The Auckland Rugby Union struggles to produce its own stars any more, to the point that the Blues are now reliant on disaffected players from other provinces. With so much raw football talent in the city, it is amazing Isaia Toeava is the only recent test-class back out of Auckland.

In marked contrast, the Warriors are on the verge of unleashing a tidal wave of local stars over the NRL. A number, including Hurrell, arrived via Auckland secondary school rugby union teams.

By rights, Hurrell should still be playing union. He was a leading light in the Auckland Grammar first XV and played for Auckland schools.


Hurrell came to Auckland from Tonga about three years ago. St Kentigern College was first alerted to him but missed the boat when a trial match was cancelled and they chose to sign another youngster.

Auckland Grammar recruited Hurrell on a scholarship and he boarded at the school from 2009, when his father also arrived in Auckland to ensure everything was in order. But as his New Zealand visa was running out, a cumbersome rugby union had trouble contracting Hurrell - unlike the more nimble Warriors organisation.

Graham Edwards, a student careers adviser and Auckland Grammar first XV manager, was a mentor to Hurrell. The youngster wanted to stay in rugby union, the only game he knew, and I understand Edwards tried to find Hurrell a club to play for after the Auckland Rugby Union advised him to do that. A couple of clubs were keen but unable to financially help Hurrell, who needed around $20,000 for fees to meet student visa requirements.

Edwards then sought the advice of Walter Alvarez, an old teaching comrade at St Peter's College who coached its first XV. Alvarez is an acquaintance of John Ackland, the Warriors recruitment/junior coaching guru and another former St Peters teacher. Ackland wanted Hurrell and the club was able to sort his employment/visa situation out.

Ackland recalls the day which told him Hurrell had the character to match his physical talents.

"Konrad played a junior trial for us at Cornwall Park in late 2010 and about 20 of the Auckland Grammar boarders turned up to support him and Graham Edwards was also there," says Ackland. "That respect told me something, that we were dealing with a good person."

The overall impression is, however, that Hurrell was a player rugby union wanted, that he wanted to continue playing the game, and yet he was virtually chased away.

Auckland rugby is apparently trying to emulate Canterbury/Crusaders nowadays in concentrating on quality rather than quantity. But the Hurrell case is among the evidence which suggests Auckland rugby is mired in a mish-mash of half judgments involving too many people.

How else can you explain the glaring lack of local talent coming through at the Blues, a team which should win titles and produce a stream of test stars?

The talk is that young Polynesian players feel at home with the Warriors, whereas in rugby, they are stereotyped and respected for brawn, not brains.

Junior players also come under the season-long wing of the Warriors, rather than finding themselves working their way around local club and representative teams as in rugby union. This means the Warriors have a direct influence on how they want the players to develop.

A rugby union official told me television coverage of the junior NRL Toyota Cup competition is a major bonus for league because this naturally attracts youngsters, gives their families and friends a buzz, and makes the players feel they are on a professional, glamorous pathway.

Whereas there is prestige attached to first XV rugby, the subsequent club scene feels like an obscure step backwards for top young prospects.

If this is a union v league battle for talent, or simply a comparison, a monolith is being outpointed by the skill and desperation of private ownership.

As for Hurrell, a bright if not certain future calls in the sport that chose him. He may be more suited to league yet for those wondering what the heck has gone wrong within Auckland/Blues rugby over the past decade or more, that is not the point.

By Chris Rattue

Link.
 

Fazz_old

Guest
The tone of that article is funny. It's like he's caught halfway between painting a sob story for union and praising the warriors lol
 

AC5_old

Guest
Good article and pretty spot on. I've heard similar ( if not to the same extent)stories about being told to do this and play club and sort it yourself etc whereas the Warriors seem to promote an "if you're good enough we'll make it worth your while" message
 

Patu_old

Guest
The scary thing is that Hurrell is only the start of things. There's another kid (his name escapes me right now) who has come from rugby and is playing for the Juniors, a whopping center who by many reports is even BETTER than Hurrell.
 

Fazz_old

Guest
That would continue the trend lol.

2012 Guy>Hurrell>Likiliki

Man I love Toyota Cup. I hope it sticks around forever.
 

Spence_old

Guest
Do you know what I love? The following could easily come true.

2014 Guy > 2012 guy > Hurrell > Likiliki
 

bigstuboy_old

Guest
there were about 4-5 rugby players coming into the jnr squad this season. i remember last season the club said they were gunna recruit rugby player heavily but i thought they were gunna recruit established players but obviously they were going after the young fellas.
 

Patu_old

Guest
That would continue the trend lol.

2012 Guy>Hurrell>Likiliki

Man I love Toyota Cup. I hope it sticks around forever.
Haha Likiliki! That kid could become something under Wayne B, altho I always thought it was attitude rather than talent that was the problem with Tonga. Hurrell on the other hand has a great attitude, always willing to learn, a good listener, and a character to boot.
 

bigstuboy_old

Guest
to me these two boys a exactly the same player both were super dominant but there aren't to many young jnrs who come onto the scene at center and dominate right away it will take both of them abit of time to realise you won't be able to bully the oposition players like they did in toyota cup. side note just heard likiliki is having twins .
 

sebastian_old

Guest
I'm happy to be just grateful for Hurrell's potential. Just happy to back Hurrell, for the moment.
 

bigstuboy_old

Guest
ropati will have to have a good prseason i feel. imo ropati has been out a whole year and doesn't deserve to be picked automatically when you have guys like inu and hurrell
 

mrblonde_old

Guest
Well, if you want the Toyota Cup to continue, you should call Suzie the Waitress or her Aussie equivalent and tell her to poison the Warriors U20s.

It must be - pardon the pun - giving the Aussies the shits that a Kiwi side is dominating their competition....

And you can bet that when the Warriors U20s do a threepeat, there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth in Straya. I expect a U23s might be instigated, as some people apparantly wanted....

Not that it will make any actual difference, of course :D
 

2big2strong_old

Guest
The scary thing is that Hurrell is only the start of things. There's another kid (his name escapes me right now) who has come from rugby and is playing for the Juniors, a whopping center who by many reports is even BETTER than Hurrell.

Are you talking about Ngani Laumape?

If so then I've heard that he was better than Hurrell too!

I researched him when I heard that the Warriors had signed him and his stats were super impressive. Only the 3rd 4th former from PNBHS to play 1st XV since WW2. He made the NZ schoolboys union side a couple years in a row and in 2010 scored 35 tries.

He sounds like a beast but his story also sounds similar to Hurrells...

https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/sport/5875342/Laumape-tied-to-contract
Star schools player Ngani Laumape will be lost to Manawatu for at least two years.

The New Zealand Schools second five-eighth has been held to a rugby league contract with the Junior Warriors and will shift to Auckland.

Now 18, he signed a contract with them a year ago as a 17-year-old after being miffed at being shunned by the Hurricanes Schools selectors.

"I was more or less disappointed about that," he said.

Since then he has got his liking for rugby back. He got a kick out of touring Britain with the Palmerston North Boys' High School 1st XV last year, catching up with his Tongan cousin from Manawatu, Lifeimi Mafi, when Boys' High visited Blackrock College in Dublin. Mafi plays professionally for Munster.

This year Laumape was at last picked for the Hurricanes and New Zealand schools' sides.

The Manawatu Turbos coaches had also been watching Laumape for years.

"Manawatu offered me a contract," he said.

He said he tried to get out of the Warriors' contract, but to no avail; he was locked in.

It is a two-year contract and he has relatives in Auckland.

Laumape said it doesn't mean he will be lost to Manawatu forever.

"I will give it a shot and no regrets," he said. "I think I will probably end up coming back. I will definitely come back home."

He felt there would be advantages to playing professionally for two years, whereas in Manawatu he might have ended up playing club rugby.

Maybe not. The Turbos are not flush with midfield backs, and even at 18 Laumape weighs 100 kilograms. That is 5kg more than French captain Thierry Dusautoir and he is an international loose forward.

Laumape broke into the school's 1st XV as a fourth former and only four players since World War II have done that.

He badly injured his knee in the Polson Banner match against Napier Boys' High School. That not only hurt the 1st XV but also meant Laumape had to battle to get back to fitness for the New Zealand Schools trip to Australia.

"I was at about 80 per cent over there," he said.

He scored New Zealand's only try in the loss to Australia in Sydney, and has scars on the knee to show he has just had surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament.

With him in that game in Sydney was classy Boys' High captain and centre Jason Emery, in his second year in the national side. He intends to sign for Manawatu any day despite other unions showing interest. Emery is in the process of deciding which club he should play for.

There is also interest from Otago and Manawatu in talented Boys' High lock-loose forward Jackson Hemopo, who wasn't picked for the New Zealand Schools side.
 

Fazz_old

Guest
Well that sounds a bit rubbish. Maybe he'll change his mind after getting to touch the ball more than twice a game though...
 

slaughterhouse.sa_old

Guest
Im sure Lumape also played for Mid-central in the 2010 NZRL national comp. (taranaki/hawkesbay/manawatu).

I think he made the merit team from memory too.
Forget NPC mate. Become a Toyota cup star and you can go str8 to the NRL or super 15.

Dont worry this article was written a while ago.
 

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