Northern adventure ‘so exciting’ for young player

St Hilda’s Collegiate School year 12 pupil Anya Clark will play in the curtain-raiser for the...
St Hilda’s Collegiate School year 12 pupil Anya Clark will play in the curtain-raiser for the Warriors-Storm game at Mt Smart Stadium tonight. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A big nervous smile envelops Anya Clark’s face when she thinks about running out at Mt Smart Stadium tonight.

The year 12 St Hilda’s Collegiate School pupil will take the field for the South Island Scorpions 16s in the curtain-raiser for the Warriors match against the Melbourne Storm.

They will play Auckland 16s.

"It is pretty nerve-racking," she beamed.

"I find it so exciting. I’ve never really seen the country up there before and going on a plane is so exciting."

Yep, you read that right. The thought of a big crowd of curious onlookers rated second to the adventure of flying to Auckland.

It will be just her second trip to the city. The first was for the New Zealand Rugby League nines under-16 tournament.

The 16-year-old fullback shone and was named in the tournament team.

She impressed again during the Otago 16s tournament and made the longlist and eventually the squad for the South Island Scorpions.

She is also a gun motocross rider, although she swatted away praise for her effort in winning the South Island women’s cross-country motocross championship in mud and snow.

"Oh, motocross is just a hobby."

Her real passion is for tackling. She is an evasive runner but it is bringing opponents crashing down that gives her the most joy.

She has been doing jiu jitsu since she was 7 and loves the close-quarter contact.

Anya enjoys rugby as well and plays second five for the school first XV.

"I like rugby league better, I think. It is more exciting and there are less stoppages in the game. But don’t get me wrong, I love rugby."

Anya might have to learn to love rugby even more, though.

"Next year I won’t be eligible for under-16s. They are trying to get an under-18s team [up and running], but there is nothing and it is really sad because I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year."