‘Raw potential’ heads to Wahs junior team

Balclutha rugby league player Kairus Booth, 16, practises goalkicking in Balclutha recently....
Balclutha rugby league player Kairus Booth, 16, practises goalkicking in Balclutha recently. Photo: supplied
A Balclutha youngster with "raw potential" has gone up to the Wahs.

Kairus Booth, 16, a year 12 pupil at South Otago High School, has signed with the Warriors.

He will join the under-17 Harold Matthews Cup squad.

The utility back recently played for the South Island Scorpions team which beat Waikato 26-10 to win the 16 boys section of the national youth tournament in Rotorua.

He then made the Rest of New Zealand squad which beat Auckland in the under-16 representative final.

He has been playing touch and rugby for years.

The youth tournament was Kairus’ first time trying out rugby league.

But things have moved quickly for the utility back, who also does some goalkicking.

Booth has said he enjoyed the sport "just as much as rugby".

He is now busy in Auckland with the under-17 squad and is up against some top talent to make the team.

Kairus and his family could not be contacted this week.

Future Warriors coach Tony Iro said he saw "raw potential" in Kairus.

"We first noticed him playing for the South Island Scorpions and we tracked him from there," Iro said.

"We liked what we saw out of Kairus.

"He’s raw and hasn’t played a lot of league — but he’s hungry and he has potential.

"He definitely deserved to have the opportunity to develop further."

Iro said Kairus was living with him while he trained in Auckland.

"He’s a really good kid.

"He’s fighting to shine alongside 45 other boys."

"He’s got some work to do, but I can see he wants it."

He said he was looking forward to what Booth would bring to the table.

The Warriors have introduced two age-grade teams in New South Wales league competitions next year — the Jersey Flegg Cup (under-21) and the Harold Matthews Cup (under-17).

The goal was to give the club the best possible development pathway.

It would be the first time the Warriors would run more than three men’s teams.

The SG Ball and Harold Matthews competitions are shorter seasons, usually from early February to late April.