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Thứ Bảy, 22 tháng 9, 2018

Son shining at Bondi as Rooster Tetevano does dad proud

Zane Tetevano is just one win away from a grand final but nothing the Sydney Roosters forward achieves in the NRL is likely to top the season he played alongside his late father Tony.
Tetevano, who has played every match for the Roosters this season, was 15 when he and Tony played first grade together in 2006 for the Pacific Sharks in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty competition.
“Not many people get to play with their old man so that is something I will always treasure,” Tetevano said. “My dad had me at a very young age so he was 32 or 33 years old at the time we played together.
“My younger brothers always ask me what was it like to play with dad, and it was awesome.  I played centre, wing or fullback and dad played lock. I thought that was pretty cool.”
According to officials from the Tokoroa-based club, which also produced Roosters centre Joseph Manu, the way Zane now plays reminds them of Tony, who passed away aged 41 in 2015 after almost a decade of heart trouble.
“He had four or five heart by-passes.” Tetevano said. “It was pretty devastating."
The first indication of Tony’s health problems came after a game in which he was hit heavily in a tackle.
“Later that day he started getting sick, he started getting real bad migraines and he started vomiting blood,” Zane said. “We rushed him to the hospital and the next day he had his first by-pass. That was the last game I played with him.”
Tony’s death was a turning point for Zane, who moved to Newcastle in 2007 after being spotted by Knights recruiter Mick McIntyre while playing against Hunter Sports High on a tour organised by Manu’s father Nooroa and Tokoroa High principal Willie Ford.
"Shortly after we arrived back in Tokoroa, Mick came over and met with Zane’s father Tony and Zane’s grandparents," Ford said. "It was an exciting time for us as it was the first ever visit by an NRL club official to sign up one of our boys."
 Pacific Sharks official Maree Hawkins, who was the 2015 NZRL Female Volunteer of the Year, said Zane had been destined for the NRL.
"Zane was identified at the age of 12 that he had talent and would get the opportunities in fulfilling his dream of playing at higher levels and in the NRL," Hawkins said.
"Zane played in Pacific Sharks Premier team in 2006, his father Tony putting his boots back on to play with his son.  They were a powerhouse combination. Zane plays exactly like him.
"Zane is very talented and we are very proud of him and his achievements, as well as Joseph Manu. " 
Tetevano made his NRL debut for Newcastle in 2011 and played 29 top-grade matches with the Knights before being sacked in 2014 after domestic violence charges.
He signed with Manly but had his contract torn up without playing a game and by his own admission was “heading down hill real fast”.
“I think when dad passed away it really rocked me and made me realise I needed to get my shit together,” he said. “When he was alive he used to always be telling me that.
“I brought my brothers over from New Zealand after that and got them sorted with jobs and playing for Wyong, the Roosters feeder club. I have always been a father figure for them so it was time for me to step into dad’s shoes and obviously make a pathway for them.
“They are old enough to look after themselves but I am always going to be in their ear about what to do and not to do.”
Having been billeted by Wayde and Julie Rushton when he first joined the Knights, Tetevano would commute from the Central Coast and he still catches the train to Roosters training after being offered a second chance in the NRL last year.
The 27-year-old Cook Islands international had played the previous season for Wyong Roos, who are the Roosters feeder club, and he was named in the 2016 Intrust Super Premiership team of the year.
“I don’t find the commuting too bad and the lifestyle is pretty good,” Tetevano said. "We are not far from the beach and we get to see my in-laws, who are a great family, so it just works.
“When we get days off from training I get to put my dad hat on. I don’t see any other footballers so I do my own thing which is pretty awesome.”
Tetevano credits his partner Mikayla, with whom he has two young sons, Zarius and Zaiden, as a positive influence on his life.
“She has been my backbone, she has got me through a lot and everything I do is for my family,” he said.
Having had the opportunity to play alongside his father, Tetevano hopes one day to get the chance to do the same with his own sons.
“I will keep kicking over until my 40s if I have to,” he said.

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