Sport has always been a passion in Reuben Te Kani-Taylor's life and the Rotorua Boys' High student is preparing to make his mark in the world of league.

The talented 18-year-old is moving to Australia at the end of November to play for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs under-20s squad and develop in the hooker position.

The Bulldogs, based in Belmore, boast a professional side that competes in the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership, as well as New South Wales Rugby League junior competitions.

Te Kani-Taylor signed a contract two years ago but insisted on finishing his education first. He will study an electrical apprenticeship alongside developing in the under-20s squad.

Advertisement

"This is the best move for me," he said.

"But I wanted to finish school first. Education is very important to me and it's there as a back-up plan. I think it's vital to have other skills alongside playing sport."

The former Chiefs under-18 player admitted he was nervous to be making the move but was excited for his adventure.

"It will be hard because I am going to miss everyone from back home," he said.

"To develop and become the best I can be I need to take this step. I am ready to put in the hard work and achieve great things."

Te Kani-Taylor, who was recognised in the recent Te Arawa youth sport awards, has the full support of his family - parents Andrew Taylor and Ira Te Kani and older brothers Josh, 20, and Luke, 30, who are both also talented league and sports players.

And the youngest of the three siblings said a healthy rivalry between the brothers was one of the key reasons to his success.

"It definitely helped me growing up, and being the smallest I always had to battle hard," he said.

"I always looked up to my brothers. They told me to train hard and rewards would come."

Taylor, who is the manager of local league side Ngongotaha Chiefs, has also had a big impact on his son alongside fellow Boys' High students Te Ra Whata and Jayden Sargent who Te Kani-Taylor trains and plays with in the school's 1st XV rugby team.

Reuben Te Kani-Taylor will be leaving behind his local team Ngongotaha Chiefs to go over to Australia after signing a league contract with the Bulldogs. Photo/Andrew Warner.
Reuben Te Kani-Taylor will be leaving behind his local team Ngongotaha Chiefs to go over to Australia after signing a league contract with the Bulldogs. Photo/Andrew Warner.

"Rugby and league are definitely in the blood and being encouraged to pick up a ball from a young age meant that I learnt the key skills from the off," Te Kani-Taylor said.

"Also playing at school has really progressed my game because of the level of coaching we receive.

"There is a friendly rivalry between me, Te Ra and Jayden and in the friendship group we really push and encourage each other."

Te Kani-Taylor, who has previously been selected for the New Zealand open men's touch training squad, said he was eyeing a career in the NRL and playing for the New Zealand national side.

"League is so much bigger over in Australia and my main aim is to make it to the top," he said.

"Also I want to put on the black jersey one day. It certainly won't be easy but I will stick at it.

"'I'm prepared to work hard and sacrifice things to make those dreams reality."