28 September 2022
as seen on uk.sports.yahoo.com
Joey Manu fell in love with rugby league when New Zealand won the World Cup in 2008. Now, he wants to help inspire the next generation of Kiwis.
The Sydney Roosters superstar was just 12 years old when New Zealand last won their only World Cup, but it made him dream of lifting the Cup himself one day.
And Manu will get the chance to do that this autumn. He is all but certain to wear the No. 1 jersey for Michael Maguire’s side at the tournament.
“If we do what we want to do then it will be something special for New Zealand in terms of rugby league,” Manu told The Roar’s World Cup Chasers Podcast about this year’s World Cup.
“I was a little kid when we won it in 2008 so that was pretty special. Looking back on that, it made me enjoy rugby league a lot more and seeing that team win was pretty cool. It would bring a lot of happiness to fans and young kids in New Zealand (if we won).
“Rugby (Union) is always pretty dominant in New Zealand but if we do what we set out to achieve, then we will definitely bring a better light onto New Zealand Rugby League.
“There is a lot of talent in New Zealand and we want more younger kids playing so I think if we do that and they see what we can do, then the game would be a lot bigger.”
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Manu says he is looking forward to playing in England again this autumn. He played for the Kiwis on their 2018 tour of England as well as being involved in World Club Challenges with the Roosters.
“I did 2018 Kiwis tour so I did like six weeks over there which was my first time over there,” Manu added.
“I’ve been over there a couple of times. I know what the atmosphere is like, it is pretty exciting and I love playing over there. We can definitely do what we want to do.
“The fans will be pretty supportive, especially of England, but of a lot of the other teams too. I’m looking forward to seeing the fans representing their countries and favourite players.
“England is a long way away and a lot of the boys will be away from their family but we will get locked in and focus on what we want to achieve. It makes it a bit sweeter when you come home (if you do win).
“Family is a big part in Kiwi culture. No doubt there’ll be a few Kiwis over there too so we are looking forward to it.”