Manly steal the next BK

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Manly steal the next BK,22049,22290067-5006066,00.html

August 23, 2007 12:00am

HE'S already been described as the next Ben Kennedy and - like the former Kangaroos great before him - rugby union's loss is the Sea Eagles' gain.

Teenage rugby sensation Jared Waeara-Hargreaves has slipped through the loose grip of the Waratahs and agreed to terms with NRL club Manly for the next two years.

In a switch that has left rugby insiders stunned at the Waratahs management's short-sightedness, 18-year-old Waeara-Hargreaves yesterday informed the NSWRU he's moving to the 13-man code to take up a full-time career in league.

The Kiwi-born back-rower, a starting flanker in the ARC with the Central Coast Rays after just a season in first grade with Norths, was only offered a part-time deal to remain in rugby and told he'd have to wait until 2010 before joining the Tahs as a rookie.

Already standing 195cm and weighing 107kg, Waeara-Hargreaves has drawn comparisons with Kennedy after being spotted by the same scout.

And now the Norths flanker will follow the same career path as Kennedy, who many regard as perhaps the biggest fish the ARU ever lost when he switched codes in 1996.

"I came down from Brisbane with the goal of becoming a professional footballer in a full-time environment and Manly have given me that opportunity," Waeara-Hargreaves said last night. "League is my focus now. I want to give it a real go."

The Daily Telegraph reported in June that league clubs and the NZRU were circling Waeara-Hargreaves after just a handful of first-grade games for Norths.

The NSWRU was only prepared to offer the rookie a spot as a "professional academy" player for the next two years before including him in Super 14 plans in 2010.

A professional academy player is paid to train for just 14 hours a week.

Waeara-Hargreaves' manager Mike Newton said his client's decision to leave rugby was difficult, but the chance to develop his talent full-time at a top NRL club was too good to pass up.

"He's made pretty quick progress from a relative unknown to the only kid his age starting in the ARC, so he's certainly got the raw talent there to be something special in league," Newton said.

Manly coach Des Hasler said he was excited about the crash-tackling youngster's potential.

"Who knows how good he can be? He's only 18, that's the exciting part," Hasler said.

"He's a young guy, great athlete and he's got a good head on him already. First grade is a long way away but he is a very impressive kid."

Norths general manager Grant Richardson blasted rugby officials last night for letting "a future Wallaby" slip away.

"Fundamentally we have a flaw in our rugby union system," Richardson said. "While some people pontificate that we can't (sign) everybody, I think we have to make sure that we do what we can to keep our best young kids in the game.

"We seem to have in rugby more academies than Hollywood. There is just no guarantee of them coming back (from league)."

Similar in appearance to Bulldogs star Sonny Bill Williams, Manly are enthusiastic about the potential of Waeara-Hargreaves.

"Wait until you see what we do with him in 14 weeks," said a source.


The future of Australian rugby
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

By Jon Geddes

June 13, 2007 12:00am

RUGBY union has moved to secure and protect its brightest teenage talent as NRL clubs circle giant lock Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

The exciting 18-year-old of Kiwi descent is the hottest prospect on the football radar, a rampaging 105kg back-rower who bears a striking similarity to league star Sonny Bill Williams.

After just three first grade games for Northern Suburbs in the Sydney rugby premiership, Waerea-Hargreaves has become the centre of a tug of war between the rugby codes.

Included in the Waratahs' development program this year, the strapping teenager has also already attracted interest from half a dozen NRL clubs.

"Rugby is where I would like to stay, but if it's not then so be it," Waerea-Hargreaves said, who moved from Rotorua to settle in Queensland with his family when he was nine.

"I'm in the Waratahs Academy at the moment, I would like to move up to higher levels."

Waerea-Hargreaves was spotted by the same scout who discovered Ben Kennedy playing rugby in Casino as a schoolboy.

Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie described him as one of the bright young prospects in NSW rugby.

"We are keeping a close eye on him," McKenzie said.

The teenager's manager Mike Newton held a meeting with the Waratahs yesterday where they made a bid to keep him in the rugby ranks next year. "There are certainly a number of NRL clubs who are monitoring his progress," Newton admitted.

Former Wallaby prop Ben Darwin, Norths' assistant coach, said the Australian Under-19 World Cup forward had massive potential with a few rough edges.

"I've never seen anyone hit as hard as he can for a young buck," Darwin said. "He hits like a freight train and I think that is very exciting. One thing we have to do is pull him back at training because he keeps wanting to knock everyone out."

Waerea-Hargreaves thrives on the physical encounters.

"I like a bit of a rough-up and a bit of aggression," he said. "If someone likes to give it it me, I like to give it back to them, too."

Darwin is also impressed by the way the rookie is prepared to talk it up on the field.

"He really preps (fires) up the tight five and gets them going at scrum time," Darwin said.

Watching him in action it is not surprising he says Bulldogs star Williams who he really admires.

"He's got an awesome attacking game, an awesome defensive game – I just like to model my game around him a lot," he said.

Last year Waerea-Hargreaves caught the eye of rugby pundit David Lamond while playing in the Australian Schoolboy Rugby Championships.

Lamond previously singled out Kennedy as a special talent when he was running around as a schoolboy in Casino.

"I have just seen a kid who reminds me of 'BK' at the same age but he is lot bigger," Lamond told manager Newton.

After one game in the Colts competition with Norths he was moved into grade.

And his dedication to the task is amazing.

After training four mornings a week with the Waratahs Academy and three evenings with his club Norths, Waerea-Hargreaves then does another five sessions by himself.

"I love it," he said.

Playing against Eastwood last Saturday he showed he is anything but overawed about the rise in standard.

After receiving a head cut he almost had to be dragged to the blood bin before he returned with his head bandaged to tear into the action again.[br][img=200x137]../../AE_files/public/1187796183_227_FT168668_0552325800_.jpg[/img][br]


First Grader
Premium Member
Sounds Good

Warriors fans are also spewing that we signed Liu Tominina (sp)

So it looks like the future of our backrow is in safe hands


And according to this article, we had to fork out a bit of money to get him as well. That can't be good news for Willo!


And according to this article, we had to fork out a bit of money to get him as well. That can't be good news for Willo!

I thought that union players were excempt from any salary cap?


First Grader
I watched this kid play for Norths against Eastwood back in June and thought geez he is good. Definately has alot of agression about him as he was giving it to the older players on the field and not taking a backward step, pretty sure he was in the paper the following week saying how much potential he had.

How will he go in league? Not many forwards can make the transition imo but he is young and looks pretty good.

Canteen Worker

First Grader
Ray Price is a good example of one who made the switch okay. A fair player called Kennedy didn't do too badly for the Knights/Eagles either.


First Grader
There are always exceptions CW, more forwards fail than succeed. However this guy is young and looks pretty good from what I have seen however I am not getting too excited.

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