We checked in with Iliesa, more commonly known as Junior, to find out how he feels about the news.
How did you find out Melbourne Storm were interested in you?
Iliesa Ratuva: The Melbourne Storm have had an interest in recruiting young secondary school players in New Zealand for the last three months and I was lucky enough to be one of five players who have been selected for the development recruitment programme. I found out a week before we played Saint Kentigern College (last home game) by my rugby agent and coach, Tasesa Lavea. He said one of the Melbourne Storm agents will be watching the game because they were interested in signing me for next year.
How did it feel to be selected?
IR: I have always wanted to pursue a career in rugby so this will be a huge step for me. I hope one day to play at professional level. I haven’t played rugby league before so this will be my biggest challenge.
What would you like to say to other College students who would also like to pursue a career in rugby and play for our First XV?
IR: Getting the opportunity to play for the College First XV is always going to be tough and competitive but I’ve had so much fun at the same time.
Overall, one take-home lesson I have learnt after being part of the First XV squad for two years, is to not let yourself down. You need to get out of your comfort zone, get used to meeting new people and show others that you have the potential to do anything. I did whatever it took to become better and I’ll keep pushing myself to improve.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
IR: I know that I could have not achieved this without the help from all the staff at King’s College, my great coach and the College’s Rugby management team. Thanks for such a great season and for all the helping hands throughout the year.