At just 15, Tamihana Ratima is preparing to cross the ditch to pursue his NRL dream.
Tamihana, a pupil at Pātea Area School, has signed with the Gold Coast Titans until the end of 2024.
Tamihana's National Rugby League agent says as well as signing with the Gold Coast Titans, he has received a scholarship with Marsden State High School's rugby league academy, and will join the 2022 Souths Logan Magpies Cyril Connell Cup squad.
"He can be very proud of his achievements."
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Dixon says Tamihana was first recognised two years ago.
"He was a standout player on the wing. Since then we've kept an eye on him. Last year he attended a camp focused on educating young players on what is expected of an NRL player, both on and off the field."
Tamihana took part in the Mid-Central Vipers Under 16 tournament this year.
"We noticed how he'd progressed and matured in his attitude towards the game and himself since the camp. He's a lovely kid with a willingness to punch above his weight. We signed him a month ago after this tournament after noticing his progress. Tamihana shows the potential Taranaki kids have and the pathways available to them."
Dixon says when Tamihana moves to Australia, he'll have a bunch of support.
"He has close family over there who he'll live with. Also, the Marsden State High School's rugby league academy will be great for him, as his education will be focused around his passion, which helps promote the other subjects he needs to learn as well."