Pupil helps team win premiership

Kairus Booth, a One NZ Future Warriors rugby league player from Balclutha, kicks the ball during...
Kairus Booth, a One NZ Future Warriors rugby league player from Balclutha, kicks the ball during the Under-17 Harold Matthews Cup final, held at the weekend in Sydney. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
For one Balclutha rugby league player, being a newbie in the Future Warriors did not stop him from helping them to a milestone win.

Kairus Booth signed with the Future Warriors for rugby league last year.

The Future Warriors Under-17 Harold Matthews Cup squad defeated the Western Suburbs Magpies 34-16 at CommBank Stadium in Sydney, Australia at the weekend.

This meant the Future Warriors had become the first team in the history of the UNE Harold Matthews Cup to claim the premiership in their maiden year.

Kairus, who is only 17, played on the right wing in the final.

"My whole focus when I signed was to learn all I could, as I was new to league at that level.

"I aimed to train hard and try to get regular game time.

"I’m pretty happy and proud with how it all worked out."

The Australian-based competition has been around for 54 years, and Kairus was "thrilled" to have the winning experience with his New Zealand team.

"The experience was amazing and something I will remember forever.

"The coaches, facilities at the club and the programme as a whole was exceptional.

"The Auckland traffic was probably the one thing I didn’t find fun."

Kairus said it felt "really good" to represent from the South Otago area.

"There is not much league played around our area, so it was just awesome to do it for the people from the area who kept me grounded and supported me."

Many of the team had family fly over to watch the game, and some of Kairus’ family made the trip.

Future Warriors pathways manager Tony Iro, with whom who Kairus stayed, said he worked as hard as he could and the hard work paid off.

"Kairus took a bit of getting used to with the training, since he hadn’t played too much high-level league before, but he worked hard.

"Seeing the improvement in him was very worthwhile and good to see."

Kairus is heading back to South Otago High School and will be getting back into First XV rugby.

"I’m really looking forward to getting back out with my mates who have helped me achieve where I am today."

He will be back in Auckland this coming November for the pre-season of the Under-19 SG Ball Side for next year’s competition under the same banner.

"If you get the chance, just have a crack at it. We have really good systems and coaching in Otago for age grade teams, and the Southern Zone Scorpions is an awesome set up to be involved with."