After spending almost a year without playing any football while the 2020 season was reaching its conclusion, Haze Dunster was thrown into the cauldron of an NRL elimination final for his debut match as a late replacement for Eels centre Michael Jennings.
Although the call-up came at very late notice for Dunster, he rose to the occasion with great maturity against an in-form South Sydney side with the daunting assignment of defending against the NRL’s most dangerous left edge attack at the time.
Despite the loss, the Parramatta debutant could take a lot of pride from his ability to handle big game pressure at the earliest point of his NRL career.
That particular game was not his first outing in the blue and gold jersey for 2020 having already played in February’s NRL Nines.
Dunster scored a try in each of the Eels’ two wins for the tournament before they bowed out against St George Illawarra at the semi-final stage.
In 2019, Dunster made significant steps in his development when he transitioned from Parramata’s Jersey Flegg Cup side to the Wentworthville Magpies on their unbelievable run to a Canterbury Cup NSW Grand Final appearance against the Newtown Jets from eighth spot on the ladder.
A member of the Eels’ junior representative program, the Rotorua product was also part of the Eels’ 2017 SG Ball Cup team who defeated Cronulla in the decider and went on to claim the National Championship in the following week against the Western Mustang.
Dunster has continued to make great progress in the Parramatta system as he prepares for the next season and at age 21 there is plenty more to achieve for the young Kiwi.