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The League Boys Are Back - On Maori Television!

OCTOBER 31, 2007

The League Boys Are Back - On Maori Television!

NGATI NRL is back on Maori Television following the hopes and dreams of our young Maori and Pacific Island players as they try and make it or break it in the toughest league competition in the world. The season premieres Saturday December 1 at 8.00 PM.

Follow the professional fortunes of these young hopefuls as they tackle the cut-throat and competitive world of the Australian National Rugby League.

Series six kicks off by proving that dreams do indeed come true as the first grade becomes a reality for long-serving NGATI NRL stars Rangi Chase (Ngati Kahungunu), Ben Ellis (Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Kahungunu) and Ben Te'o (NZ/Samoan). The three are now regulars in the first grade competition for the St George Illawarra Dragons and the West Tigers.

NGATI NRL Â stays with Billy Ngawini (Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa) as he faces the reality of failing to make the first grade with the Canterbury Bulldogs and needing to make hard decisions about moving to the Gold Coast franchise.

NGATI NRL also champions the new with  Brisbane residents Herewini Rangi (Tainui), Aotearangi Herangi (Tanui) and Leon Panapa (NZ Tokelau). Born and raised in the heartland of Waikato rugby league, Rangi and Herangi have made the move to Wynnum Manly, a feeder club to the mighty Brisbane Broncos.

Rangi is a fluent speaker of Maori from Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga in Huntly while Herangi can claim royal blood lines, coming from Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia. The two take with them the experience of a season with the New Zealand Warriors and a lifetime of league from the Waikato.

Panapa - son of former Kiwi representative Sam Panapa - is also at Wynnum Manly where he plays for the under-19 side under the guidance of former Warrior Mark Tookey. He is regarded as the hot new prospect for the Brisbane Broncos as they offer him a full professional contract.

Former Kiwi and master coach Mark Horo returns in this new season with NGATI NRL following him through Sydney's Nga Hau e Wha Maori Rugby League tournament where Maori culture is just as important as the rugby league.

NGATI NRL gets up close and personal with Kiwi and South Sydney captain Roy Asotasi as he tells all the future NRL dreamers how tough the competition really is. The show also follows the Kiwis into their worse loss of the season - however, disappointment is all part of playing professional rugby league as the past five series have shown.

James Tamou (Muaupoko, Ngarauru) is the hottest young talent in junior football. At 6'4" and weighing more than 100 kgs, this giant with Taranaki tribal affiliations is bulldozing his way through the Jersey Flegg competition and has secured himself a place in the Junior Kiwi side. NGATI NRL has VIP access to the Junior Kiwis as they prepare and play the Junior Kangaroos through the eyes of Tamou.

Keebra Park High School on the Gold Coast is the new breeding ground of league superstars - past graduates include Benji Marshall, Ben Te'o and Rangi Chase. This year, NGATI NRL profiles Otaki-born and bred prop Kenehi Edwards (Tainui, Muaupoko) who has signed a new 2008 contract with premier finalists, the Manly Sea Eagles.

Roosters' rookie AJ Taumata (Ngati Tuwharetoa) returns from injury to dazzle us with his brilliance in the Jersey Flegg competition. His talent has been noticed by the New Zealand selectors and AJ has been selected to captain the under-18 Kiwis team.

NGATI NRL is not just about the footy as life continues off the field. Christchurch homeboy and new Parramatta Eels prop, Rulon Nutira (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Awa), celebrates winning the under-18 competition with a set of twins! Nutira talks openly about semi-professional rugby league and the pressures of being a teen Maori parent.

Also new to the series is Kenny Blair (Ngapuhi). Blair is the younger brother of Melbourne Storm and former Kiwi Adam Blair and is on the edge of signing a contract with the Parramatta Eels where he has been plucked from a school league trip in Australia.

Blair is being given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his brother and to make his grandfather, Pat Campbell, proud. Campbell, a respected Ngapuhi kaumatua, talks about how important whanau is to these young boys who travel abroad.

Don't miss the stories behind the Australian league dreams with our up-and-coming Maori and Polynesian players when NGATI NRL premieres on Maori Television on Saturday December 1 at 8.00 PM.


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