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Youngster set to bust out

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Youngster set to bust out

    By Josh Massoud in Kigali, Rwanda | October 16, 2008

    YOU probably don't know Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Not yet anyway.

    The 108kg Kiwi is likely to bust into first grade next season, and when Manly coach Des Hasler unleashes him the NRL will be blessed with a rare story.

    Waerea-Hargreaves had no idea about Rwanda's whereabouts - and no fear coming here. Why? Because his father Wayne has served in Iraq since the bloody war began in 2003.

    Unlike his 19-year-old son, Wayne Hargreaves is no stranger to front-page headlines. While working as a UN peacekeeper in Cambodia 11 years ago, Hargreaves was kidnapped by guerillas and held for 16 days.

    It was big news around the globe. But for an eight-year-old kid in Rotarua, grainy photos of the hostage held infinitely more significance.

    "My mum called me into the lounge room, pointed to the TV and said, 'Jared, that's your father','' he recalled. "That's the first time I can remember seeing him. Mum said I met him once or twice when I was really young, but I can't remember. I saw his face on the TV and didn't know what to think.''

    A trade was negotiated, with Hargreaves released in exchange for weapons and supplies. The ordeal didn't faze him. A lust for adrenalin would drive further missions to conflicts in Kosovo, Africa and now Baghdad.

    But the most confronting moment came in Brisbane after his return from Cambodia. It was the day his son came to visit for the first time in seven years.

    "My mum took me to Australia to meet him, she thought I should start a relationship and get to know my father,'' Waerea-Hargreaves said. "But when I saw him, I couldn't handle it. I cried and ran away.''

    The next attempt an hour later was more successful. The pair talked for the first time and then played a round of golf together. Father and son continue to grow closer to this day.

    When Paul Osborne invited Waerea-Hargreaves to help build orphanages in genocide-decimated Rwanda, he knew who to ask. He dialled his "old man'', now working as an engineer for the US military.

    "I asked what he thought of me going to Africa and dad told me to do it,'' Waerea-Hargreaves said. "He had served in Africa and thought it would be a great life experience.''

    When it comes to sport, however, the teen has an array of experience. After moving to Brisbane in 1999, Waerea-Hargreaves excelled in golf, winning the national under-13 title a year later. But his sizeable frame drew him to contact sport, and he started rugby before dumping golf in favour of an invitation to move to Sydney to join the Waratahs Academy last year.

    It was there Manly recruitment manager Noel "Crusher'' Cleal signed him. Although he had never played league before, Waerea-Hargreaves had nothing to lose.

    "The Waratahs paid me $1500 to sign,'' he revealed. "My father supported me and when the opportunity came with Manly I took it. It's my father's dream for me to play first grade. It would make him so proud.''

    Making a difference ... Manly giant Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    helps Rwandan orphans design greeting cards that help
    them survive. Photograph: Gregg Porteous / The Daily Telegraph

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