New union works out well for Troy
HERVEY Bay’s Troy Ngatai reckons there will be no chance he’ll feel homesick while he’s playing rugby union with the Sunshine Coast Stingrays Colts team.
The 17-year-old New Zealander feels right at home in the line-up.
“More than half of the team are Kiwis,” Ngatai, who moved across the Tasman two years ago, laughed.
The Hervey Bay State High School student got his first taste of playing for the Stingrays in the Queensland Country Championships after he came off the bench to make his debut in the crushing 43-12 win against Townsville in round two.
Ngatai, who plays his club rugby for the Fraser Coast Mariners, didn’t disappoint when he came on either – just ask Franky Bourke, the head coach of the Stingrays Colts, what he thought of the young fly-half.
“Wow,” Bourke said ahead of last night’s clash with Cairns in Toowoomba.
“He was simply outstanding when he came on and he made a huge impact.
“We were so impressed – he’s a real talent and he’s got a huge future in-front of him if that performance was anything to go by.”
Ngatai got another chance to impress last night and Bourke said he wouldn’t have long to wait to show his skills again.
“He’ll be in the starting line-up – he deserves that chance,” Bourke said.
But how did Ngatai get the chance to play for the Stingrays?
It seems Bourke has had his eye on him for a while now.
“I’ve kept a close eye on Troy while he played in the schoolboy representative teams and while he played for the Mariners in the Sunshine Coast competition,” Bourke said.
“His maturity for a player his age has really impressed us all and we wanted to give him a chance to show what he can do at this level.
“There is no doubt that he’s grabbed it with both hands.”
As for Ngatai himself, well, he’s just keeping his feet on the ground at the moment.
“I am really enjoying the experience but I’m not going to get carried away by it,” he said.
“I just want to concentrate on finishing school first and then think about my next move in rugby.”
If all goes well for Ngatai, would he like to play the game at the highest level?
“For sure,” he said.
“I’d love nothing more than playing the game for a living but only for a New Zealand team,” he laughed.