In choosing the Sharks over numerous offers from other NRL clubs and in shunning significant interest from Rugby Union, young gun Siteni Taukamo has signed a contract in committing his future to the Cronulla club through until at least the end of the 2024 season.
The Captain of the Sharks Harold Matthews Cup team this year prior to the COVID enforced shut down and in 2019 selected in the Australian Schoolboy merit team, it's understandable the Sharks were very pleased to have secured Taukamo’s services for the remainder of this season and for the four to follow.
Upon signing his contract NRL Coach John Morris and Sharks five eighth Shaun Johnson met Taukamo and his parents Villi and Angela, albeit from a distance due to the COVID-19 restrictions, with Morris impressed with the youngster’s character after already being well aware of his footballing ability.
“I have monitored Siteni’s development in our Harold Matthews team this year and there’s no doubt he is an outstanding prospect,” Morris began. “But add to that he’s an excellent fit for our club in that he’s got great character, his parents and family are extremely supportive, he’s from a local junior club and has been in our system for a few years now, with retention of our best young players one of my priorities.
“It's exciting news for us to sign one of our gun rookies, especially one like Siteni who displays great attitude and skill level and I would like to congratulate him for committing his future to the Sharks.
“I look forward to his development through our elite pathways and transitioning into our NRL squad,” Morris added.
A goal-kicking fullback, with size, skill and speed, Taukamo was a standout for the under-16 Sharks in the Matthews Cup competition through six rounds before the COVID shutdown.
Glenn Brailey, the Sharks Academy and Talent Identification Manager, has seen first-hand the ability Taukamo possesses, tracked his progress over recent years and was thrilled he had agreed to remain a Shark for the foreseeable future.
“First and foremost, he’s a local junior, from the Gymea club, Siteni was identified early, has come through our system, from elite academy to junior reps, to now sign this long term contract and I’m proud that he’s entrusted us to continue with his development,” Brailey said.
“If he continues to work hard, I can see Siteni enjoying a long and successful NRL career,” Brailey said.
While his rugby league resume is becoming an impressive one, with Taukamo the only player from his Combined Independent Schools (CIS) team to be named in the under-15s Australian merit squad, he is also fast making a name for himself in rugby union.
A year 10 student at Newington College, Taukamo has been training with, and will soon play fullback for, the Newington First 15 in the GPS Rugby competition, despite still being just 15 years of age.
Souths and NSW lock Cameron Murray, Canberra’s Bailey Simonssen and Parramatta forward Tepai Moeroa are also former Newington College students who have made their name in the NRL.
Taukamo will mix junior league playing for the Gymea Gorillas and training with the Sharks Elite Academy, with his commitments with Newington Rugby for the rest of 2020, before continuing his development with the Sharks junior rep and development program in 2021 then transitioning into the NRL squad from 2023.