NRL: Hurrell seals it with a kiss

By Michael Brown

It seems a little incongruous that often after a display of such brute force and aggression Konrad Hurrell blows a kiss, but he has a very good reason for doing it. Photo / Getty Images.
It seems a little incongruous that often after a display of such brute force and aggression Konrad Hurrell blows a kiss, but he has a very good reason for doing it. Photo / Getty Images.

It seems a little incongruous that often after a display of such brute force and aggression Konrad Hurrell blows a kiss, but he has a very good reason for doing it.

After all 12 of Hurrell's tries this season, the 20-year-old has blown a kiss into a TV camera nearby. It's for his mother back in Tonga who has never seem him play rugby league.

"I just wish one day she will be on the sidelines watching me live," Hurrell said. "There's not much chance of that at the moment. She can't really walk at the moment. Hopefully she will be good soon."

Hurrell has been worth watching in 2012. His potential was well known when he was recruited from high school rugby and then backed it up with 22 tries in 21 games last year for the Junior Warriors but it's often said the leap from the under-20 competition to NRL is a big one.

He has made a mockery of that with 11 tries in his last seven games and his combination of pace and power has been hard for opposition defences to contain.

The blockbusting centre sits third equal on the try-scoring charts and is in the top 10 for linebreaks even though he has missed five games this season and is a strong candidate for NRL Rookie of the Year.

He will make a welcome return to the Warriors on Saturday for their crucial match against Newcastle after missing last week's 10-8 defeat to Brisbane with a foot injury.

Hurrell has become such an integral member of the Warriors, the club moved quickly last week to tie him down to a new deal which will see him stay at Mt Smart Stadium until the end of 2015 and he's certainly made an impact on his rivals.

"It sent shocks down my shoulder," Brisbane utility Alex Glenn recalled when talking about trying to tackle Hurrell. "He was giving me pins and needles ... a guy of his size does that to you. He's had a great debut season."

He did have one blip when he was dropped to the Auckland Vulcans for four games earlier in the year. He was struggling to pace himself in games and running out of steam but it was understandable considering he had only started playing rugby league 12 months previously.

"It never entered my mind to play league [when I was playing rugby] but I feel like a league player now," Hurrell said. "I don't think I will go back to rugby because I am enjoying myself too much.

"When I was dropped to the Vulcans for four weeks, I learned a lot from it. I learned how to pace myself. It's just trying to keep calm, not getting too excited."

He's also received some good advice from teammates and Feleti Mateo offered him an adage to keep in mind.

"Space not face," Mateo said. "He was bumping off some of the best defenders early in the year but I think it might have taken a lot of energy out of him. He's got remarkable footwork but I don't think many people have seen it.

"I just encourage him to get into spaces. He might end up running straight through rather than running over someone."

Hurrell still takes pleasure out of doing that. Against the Titans, he noticed them shouting out his name each time he touched the ball.

"I kind of like it when they do that," he said with a grin. "I just run at them when they try to take me out. It's a good chance for me to run at them."

It was also a good chance for him to blow his mother some kisses considering he scored a hat-trick.

- APNZ

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