For the first time ever, a Solomon Islander has a serious shot at entering the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia.18 year old Gerard Ian Tema has been selected into the Under 20 of the most successful Rugby League club in Australia, the 'Brisbane Broncos.' Once an avid fan of the Brisbane Broncos, Gerard's inclusion into the Under 20 squad could only be described by him as 'surreal' as quoted by the Gladstone Observer.
Gerard only recently took up league when his family moved to Gladstone in Queensland in 2004, where he played for the Gladstone Brothers League. Otherwise, Gerard's love for rugby began at a very young age watching his father and uncles play Rugby Union in the Solomon Islands.
It is easy to see where Gerard inherited the passion and skills for sports as both his parents were once Solomon Islands National Representatives, representing Solomon Islands for many years in International and National sports events.
Gerard's father, Charles Tema hails from Munda in the Western Province and Rennell in Rennell and Bellona Province. Gerard's mother, Lela Tema is a Solomon Islands Fijian.
Solomon Times caught up with two of Gerard's cousins, Illisoni and Josiah Delaiverata who stated that they swelled with pride when they heard 'G's selection into the Under 20 squad.
"We are very proud of him and we wish him all the best. We all love rugby and we are fans of the Brisbane Broncos just like him. This is the greatest achievement ever and we are all very excited. All our families are behind him, supporting him all the way," says a beaming Josiah Delaiverata.
According to the Gladstone Observer, Gerard stated that he will be pushing hard to make the 22-player under 20 from the squad of 35 he was selected into.