Putting a frustrating 2017 behind him, where a series of niggling injuries hampered his progress, youngster Cruz Topai-Aveai is relishing the pre-season training at the Sharks.
Joining the club midway through last season from Souths, however unfortunately bringing with him a troublesome leg injury, Topai-Aveai watched on from the rehabilitation group as the NYC Sharks won the minor premiership before disappointingly bowing out before the Grand Final.
No question they could have done with the size, skill and talent of someone like Topai-Aveai to bolster their ranks in the big end of season games.
At over 190cm’s and more than 110kgs, Topai-Aveai could be still growing, which is an ominous sign for the Sharks opposition, with the towering 18-year-old, he doesn’t turn 19 until January, to be ready and raring to go once the season kicks off next year.
Despite his tender years Topai-Aveai is training full-time with the Sharks extended NRL squad, where he is trying to take in as much as he can from his more senior teammates and the NRL coaching staff.
Sharks TV caught up with the young forward earlier this week. See what Topai-Aveai had to say, with his interview now playing on Sharks TV.
Fact file – Cruz Topai-Aveai
Born: January 23, 1999 – Christchurch, NZ
Junior Club: Celebration Lions, Christchurch
Position: Prop, second row
NRL debut: Yet to play in the NRL