Tuesday, 13 January 2009 11:27 AM

NRL Selection a Big Achievement

Securing a spot in the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia is a tough shot for a young Solomon Islander who looks forward to a busy year ahead of him.

Speaking to Solomon Times, the country's own young rugby player, Gerard Tema, 18, said this year will be busy as he puts more focus on hard training.

The young player who speaks passionately of rugby said being selected for the Under 20 of the Brisbane Broncos is "a very big achievement for me".

Gerard stands as the first ever Solomon Islander to enter the NRL arena.

"I want to put more focus on rugby this year and maybe take up a job on the side just to keep me going," he said.

Gerard who was in the country for two weeks to spend Christmas and New Year with family at the Western Province said the strength for him is support coming from family members.

Gerard's love for rugby began at a very young age watching his father and uncles play Rugby Union in the Solomon Islands.

"I believe what I have achieved is from a passion for rugby that runs in the family, which I have been playing since I was a child."

The young player who has been on the field for five years said the support of the family is what takes him through "... and I believe that they will always be behind me in everything I do".

Back in Australia, Gerard lives with other players in what he terms as "the rugby house".

He said that although rugby does not gain much favour or support in the Solomons, "I want to encourage people who have a heart for rugby to remain focus on what they want to achieve and they will be successful".

The young rugby player reminded local rugby players to be of good discipline and influence.

Gerard only recently took up league when his family moved to Gladstone in Queensland in 2004, where he played for the Gladstone Brothers League.

Gerard's father, Charles Tema, hails from Munda in the Western Province and Rennell in Rennell-Bellona Province and his mother, Lela Tema, is a Solomon Islands Fijian.

###TIME###