Pride Petterson- robati playing for the Storm U20 Boltz..
A few years after the Melbourne Storm recruited Wellington Schoolboy rugby league star, Pride Petterson-robati into its ranks, and a couple of years after recruiting Cade Umaga, son of former All Blacks and Hurricanes Super 15 Rugby captain from rugby union, the Melbourne based NRL club has recruited three more Wellington players into its ranks for 2014/15.
The Wellington Dompost daily newspaper wrote a college based sports article this morning describing its three new recruits for next year who will play alongside Pride, and possibly Cade if he is still in Under 20's football.
A giant two metres tall Wellington College schoolboy rugby union player, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, and Scots College first XV captain Eli Vole, are expected to join St Pat's Silverstream prop forward Joe Apikatoa who has another year at school, at the Melbourne NRL club.
Asofa- Solomona who plays No 8 for Wellington College, has had an association with the Storm for some time and has already attended training camps in Melbourne. He has a foot injury at present, but wants to get through the current rugby season before talking publicly about his future plans which would undoubtably include playing as a second-rower in league.
Melbourne Storm recruitment manager, Paul Bunn has reportedly confirmed that Asofa-Solomona and Vole were scheduled to join the NRL club.
Asofa-Solomona was an omission from the Hurricanes Under 18 training camp this week, and is not exp-ected to be considered for the New Zealand Schools rugby side. A sacrifice for the league recruit. He has been described as one of the biggest players of his age, two metres tall and a 118 kg and has impressive ball running and off-loading skills. Already the size of many international rugby union locks, it is rugby league that will entertain his thoughts in the near future. The Storm look after their players, including the young recruits, and Nelson may find it difficult to leave if he re-considered rugby union in future years. But he is still only 17 years old and has many years to consider his future in either rugby code.
Eli Vole is a rugby second five eighths and has been on the Storm books since he was 14 yrs and has recently made formal contact with the Storm. He has played both rugby and league, and is expected to head to Melbourne later this year. He will be still eligible for the SG Ball Under 18 team, but hopes to play for the Under 20 Thunderbolts next year.
The third of the Melbourne Storm recruits is Joe Apikatoa, another physically impressive player at 1.91m and 115kg. He will be trialling for the NZ Under 18 league team this week He has not fully committed to the Storm as yet, because he still has another year at school in 2014. He could move to Melbourne in 2015.
If these three players show the same talent and determination as their fellow Wellingtonians, Pride Petterson-robati and Cade Umaga, the Melbourne Storm should be well served in future years. The Melbourne Storm continues to identify many talented players before other clubs - a credit to its recruitment staff.
Acknowledgements to the Dompost:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFJbnERz1JA Schools rugby video; Asofa playing here.