Richmond Rabbits players Tamaira Raurimu-Carew has landed a trial with the Rabbitohs youth team and Maloni Lama is off on a two year stint with Cairns club side Tully Tigers. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

League duo off to play in Australia

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The Richmond Rabbits are only two years old but the two-time TRL champions have already built a pathway to bigger and better things.
Two players in their first year with the club have scored gigs in Australia, with 24 year old halfback-hooker Maloni Lama landing a two year deal in Cairns with club side Tully Tigers and 18 year old centre Tamaira Raurimu-Carew being invited to trial for the South Sydney Rabbitohs youth team.

Maloni left this week having been offered a job alongside his commitments to the Tigers club. Tully compete in the Cairns District Rugby League A Grade competition and he will be paid for each game he plays.
“Because it’s my first year I want to improve and learn more about the game, and hopefully I can go further than A Grade. I’m looking to get a future out of it,” Maloni says.
“When I was asked I said yes straight away. I told them I’d give it everything.”

Tamaira has been rewarded following his decision to switch codes. Last year he played second five for the Nelson College first XV rugby team but decided to play rugby league with his father instead.
He was the youngest member of the Tasman Titans team and got the opportunity to trial with the Rabbitohs following discussions Titans coach Phil Bergman had with an Australian agent.
“It will be pretty hard out but I’m really hoping I’ll get in,” Tamaira says.

“It would be a dream come true. I wasn’t expecting to go anywhere this year I just wanted to get a feel for it. I hadn’t even played league before.”
Tamaira had initially planned to attend an open Warriors youth team trial, but declined, favouring the invite-only Rabbitohs trial.
He will leave on December 14.

While Rabbits trainer Ryan Charles says it was bittersweet as his side would lose one, if not two, of its best players, he labelled the duo as “pioneers” and believed it a success story for the sport.
“If we want to attract new players to the game then we need to show there is a pathway there. You don’t have to be playing rugby league in Wellington or Christchurch, these guys are from little old Nelson,” he says.
“League is still in its infancy here so for them to be picked up is huge.”