NRL league ball

Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate
NRL league ball Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

Former NRL stars tip for Gympie's budding NRL star

Rugby League: Playing in the second row at the NRL's biggest stage, Kris Kahler speaks from experience when he says "it's what you do on the field for 80 minutes that counts”.

"I have always lived by the words of letting actions speak for themselves. It's what counts in games,” Kahler said.

"When the going gets tough, you don't back out. A lot of players get caught up in getting recruited but your performance in a game is what's important.”

As Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is hoping to make his debut and other juniors want to go through the ranks, Kahler says it is important for players to not get complacent.

YOUNG GUN: Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
YOUNG GUN: Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. Photo: Jonathan Demos

"Having played with the Canberra Raiders and over in New Zealand, there have been times when the conditions have been very cold and wet,” he said.

"Whatever the conditions, you have to perform. That is what's expected of you and what you are paid to do. It can be so hard on those days but you just have to keep turning up.”

Growing up as a Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs fan, Kahler said it was incredible when he got to play at the Raiders with his hero Jason Smith, who took him under his wing. "It was surreal, spending every training session and game with him was unbelievable,” he said.

ABOVE: Kris Kahler in action while playing for the Gympie Devils.
ABOVE: Kris Kahler in action while playing for the Gympie Devils. Craig Warhurst

"Smith is a top bloke and it was great to get involved with him and listen to his life outside of footy.

"Tino needs to get someone like Cameron Smith or Billy Slater to take him under his wing and further his abilities. He could strive from that to do what they have done.”

Being around rugby league his whole life, Kahler said a Matty Johns comment resonated with him.

"Matty said kids go through grade 12, get their OP, then they go to university to become doctors or engineers. Going to university does not make them a doctor or engineer,” Kahler said. "Similar to Tino, who has played a trial game. He still has a long way to go.”

With many players recruited at age 17, it can be harder for older players but "it's not impossible”.

"While playing for the Raiders, there were two blokes debut who were about 28 years old,” Kahler said. "You just have to keep chipping away. Playing with a good Queensland Cup club and making the rep team is a good way to be seen.”

Gympie Times


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