He was already one of the most explosive players in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW – but it took 13 rounds for Honeti Tuha to lift to another level.
Tuha was the name on everyone’s lips immediately following the 2015 Grand Final, where he scored a hat-trick in the Knights’ 20-10 victory over the Roos. Playing on the wing in that game, the New Zealander then decided to head south, signing a train-and-trial contract with the Parramatta Eels, where he has dominated with the Wentworthville Magpies.
It has been a long road for Tuha; a star for the Knights’ under-20s outfit in 2013, the Mangere East junior briefly returned home to the Auckland local competition before being snapped up by the Lakes United Seagulls in the Newcastle Rugby League. Tuha was named Players’ Player in the competition in 2014, prompting the Knights to take him back last year. The progression came full circle with the Knights’ historic premiership, before an opportunity arose to jump ship to Wentworthville.
Try-scoring prowess has always been a feature of Tuha’s game, but the fantastic finisher has mostly found his services used on the wing. After an impressive opening 13 weeks for the Magpies, in which he scored seven tries, the mid-season defection of Bradford-bound Kieran Moss landed Tuha in the no.1 jersey. He has since crossed the chalk on 10 occasions, scoring in all but one of the last seven meetings and placing him third on the 2016 try scorers list. Fittingly, Tuha's best performance of the year came against his former club; he scored a hat-trick, ran for 234-metre and made four line breaks against the Knights in Round 19.
While Tuha will be disappointed that Wentworthville won’t be playing finals football this September, he has been a standout in a side that missed out on the top eight by the narrowest of margins. Having played every game for the Magpies in 2016, he will be one to look out for in years to come.
Witness history this September at the 2016 NSWRL Grand Final Day. On Sunday, 25 September the Intrust Super Premiership NSW decider, along with the Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield Grand Finals, take place at Pirtek Stadium, with tickets just $10 for adults and kids under 12 free. Click here to secure your seat.