Greymouth teenager Griffin Neame has become the first West Coast rugby league player in 10 years to make Kiwi honours at any level.
The 16-year-old has been selected in the New Zealand 16s side to play the New Zealand Maori 17s in Rotorua tomorrow.
The 18-strong squad will set out to follow in the footsteps of Steven Marsters and Chanel Harris-Tavita, who were instrumental in the NZ Resident 16s team that last took to the field in 2014, both of whom went on to play for the Junior Kiwis.
All those selected have been identified as the best talent at 16s level from throughout New Zealand.
West Coast Rugby League schoolboy development officer Paddy Byrne said today Neame had trialled for the New Zealand 16s team in Auckland two weeks ago and put in a good enough performance to win a place in the team.
Byrne said Neame was proof that hard work and dedication, no matter what province a player represents, pays off.
“Neame was selected in the Southern Zone team last year, then went on to be picked in the high performance programme.”
Byrne was optimistic a number of other West Coast players would take the same path, as he expected some to be selected in the South Zone team to be announced next week, following the 15s and 17s tournaments played during the week.
“Griffin has a natural ability as a league player, and more importantly he has a good attitude and is a team player — attributes which was very important in making it in rugby league.”
He has also been picked up by scouts from the Australian NRL club, the North Queensland Cowboys.
To watch a live stream of tomorrow’s game in Rotorua, those interested should follow the NZLeague Facebook page.