Students make league grade

Last updated 07:27 12/09/2013
Southland Times photo
CHE BAKER/Fairfax NZ

Southland District under-15 rugby league players Mitchell Mahoni-Rae and Layne Opetaia.

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Two Mt Aspiring College students have become the first players to represent the school in rugby league.

Layne Opetaia and Mitchell Mahoni-Rae, both 14, were selected to tour with the Southland District under-15 Rugby League team to a tournament held on the West Coast.

The pair were added to the team fter impressing the selectors during a trial match against Otago.

While they were no strangers to watching league on television, the trail game was the first time they had ever taken to the field to play competitively.

Layne's father Scotty, who had been a semi-professional player in Australia, said ''both boys played extremely well and were selected to accompany the team to the West Coast on tour.

They were also named in the starting 13, Layne at first five and Mitchell as starting prop.

''The pair were asked to co-captain the side and were invited to trial for the South Island Under-15s squad but unfortunately missed out on the final selection.

Layne said the Southland team was a lot smaller in size than its competition but the advantage was the team was made up mostly of 14-year-olds who would make up the team next year to return to the competition.

Mitchell said while had mainly played rugby union in the past, league suited their style of play better.

Off the field they backed different Australian Football League teams with Layne supporting the Melbourne Storm and Mitchell the Sydney Roosters.

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- The Mirror

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