Like many young people today, Jackson Lepou has tried his hand at different sports - but this year he's putting all his focus on one.
The 15-year-old rugby league enthusiast has goals of making the NRL one day and knows there is no better time than now to put in the work to make it happen. It'll mean dropping sports he has played in the past such as volleyball and rugby but he has no qualms about it.
"This year I've kind of just cut all the rest of the sports off," Jackson says.
This weekend Jackson, along with about 100 budding rugby league stars aged between 13 and 17, will be attending the 2020 Broncos Hub - a skills development camp run by Brisbane Broncos, featuring some key players involved with the team's elite player development.
New Zealand Rugby League's Upper Central Zone's operations manager Hamana Amoamo says the programme, which will be held at Mount Maunganui's Arataki Park tomorrow, aims to upskill young players in the zone.
The Broncos will have their elite player development manager Simon Scanlan working with registered players coming from throughout the Bay of Plenty and Coastline rugby league districts as well as Waikato and Hauraki. Broncos' skills coach and recruitment officer Mick Kennedy and athletic performance coach David Ballard will also be at the hub.
New Zealand Rugby League representatives will also be working with the young players including NZ U18s head coach Tusa Lafaele, Kiwi Fern Kanyon Paul, 2020 NZ Maori player Capri Paekau, NZ Residents U16s coach Alex Parker and NZ Residents U18s coach Eugene Davis. Coaches and trainers from all around the Bay of Plenty have also volunteered their time to help develop the region's future stars in the men's and women's games.
Amoamo says the goal is to ensure there are continuous local stars to look up to in the sport for future generations and to help rugby league to thrive.
Jackson, who has played rugby league for the Ōtūmoetai Eels for about four years, has attended the past three Brisbane Broncos development camps, hoping for any opportunity to showcase his skills to those who can help him develop his career.
"It gives players from all types of skill levels the opportunity to learn really important things," Jackson says.
"It's very important in the sense that you're always being watched. It gets you on the radar," he says of the Broncos hub.
The Tauranga Boys' College student, who played for the WaiCoaBay U15s squad last year, says his number one team is without a doubt the New Zealand Warriors, who are also in the Bay of Plenty today, playing a pre-season match against the Wests Tigers at 2pm on Sunday.
He does have a soft spot for the North Queensland Cowboys however, based on his appreciation for club legend Jonathan Thurston.
This year, Jackson wants to do as much as he can in the sport. He missed out on a spot in the New Zealand U16 team but will get an opportunity next month to make the Regional Warriors team that will take on the Auckland Warriors. He also hopes to continue his involvement with WaiCoaBay, hoping to make the U17s team.
"I just really want to grow as a player."
He says focusing solely on rugby league will help his chances for national representation next year, helping him to stay ready so he doesn't have to get ready.
"For me it's just the fast pace, the real intense physicality, it's just a hard worker's game and it's a team sport as well."