28th April, 2021.
De La Salle in Auckland’s south has seen their fair share of professional Rugby League talent over the years, despite the absence of a senior First XIII.
Alumni and former NRL players, Motu Tony and George Carmont looked to rectify this by re-establishing the league programme after last being active in 1999 with Tony and Carmont in Rugby League Director and Head Coach roles respectively.
De La Salle is an all-boys Catholic School in Mangere’s East, a melting pot for South Auckland talent that boasts the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Jeff Lima, and Leeson Ah Mau to go alongside the aforementioned Carmont and Tony.
“The talent is there; what we aim to do is re-create the pathway that was laid for us so that current and future players have every opportunity to succeed, not only on the field but in the classroom also.” Tony says.
New Zealand Rugby League General Manager of Football and High-Performance Motu Tony wants to give back to a programme that heavily impacted his life.
“It changed my life,” Tony stated, “I believe it can change the lives of the students right now. It is more than just a game for us, De La Salle and its rugby league initiative taught us values, resilience, and perseverance which can heavily impact the direction you take in life.”
When asked why, Tony commented, “we want to give back to a programme and institution that guided us. Giving back to the youth that are in similar positions we were in is a priority for me and George.”
Tony added, “we haven’t had a rugby league program in over 20 years but thankfully, the Principal, Myles Hogarty and the Board of Trustees, have given us an opportunity to help our young men using rugby league.”
Coach Carmont has selected a 25-man squad to compete in the Senior A grade in the Auckland Secondary Schools (Rugby League) competition. De La Salle’s First XIII will also be entering New Zealand Rugby league’s Secondary Schools Competition in late August.