Young Palmerston North lad Fabien Kiri has his sights set on a career with the Warriors in the NRL after he recently signed a deal with their under-20s side.
The Palmerston North Boys' High School student was last week signed on a four-year contract for the club.
He caught the eye of the selectors when trialling for the New Zealand under-16 team last month and then they were in touch with his manager before Warriors general manager of football operations Dean Bell came to Palmerston North with a contract. The 15-year-old is only year 11 so he still has two more years at school, but was keen to start a career in rugby league.
"I stay here for the next year then go into the development system in 2015," he said.
"I'll move up to Auckland then can either choose to go back to school or they help me find a course."
So for now he will stay in Palmerston North but will attend training camps in Auckland.
He plays for the Kia Ora under-17 team and the Central Vipers under-17 side where the big prop or second rower has excelled.
He hasn't chosen one specialist position yet as both are suited to his skills - a strong ball runner who can hit holes in the defence, but doesn't shirk his defensive workload either.
"I don't mind, both are kind of the same. Second row does more jobs, props crash it up all the time."
The New Zealand under-16 team is named later this month and he was hoping to make the grade there.
This year he was Manawatu under-17 player of the year and last year was in the New Zealand Rugby League under-15 merit team.
Originally from Auckland, Kiri moved to Palmerston North with his family two years ago and as league doesn't have the same presence in this region he has had to try his hand at rugby union at school.
"It was hard. I didn't know the rules and didn't know what to do, got penalised heaps of times." he said.
He is in the Boys' High second XV, but is in the firdt XV squad touring England, Ireland and Thailand next month.
- © Fairfax NZ News