Bhana makes mark on and off field
Friday 15 February 2013 9:52 PM
This time last year David Bhana was bidding to claim a spot in the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ side for the 2012 NYC campaign.
He went on to achieve so much more.
He not only played 24 of a possible 26 matches during his debut season but won the club’s TNT NYC Young Player of the Year award and was also a finalist for both the Vodafone NYC Player of the Year accolade and the DEWALT Clubman of the Year. And another thing … the Birkenhead College product was studying for a science degree at the University of Auckland.
If he had a big year in 2012, then this season has had an even bigger start. He has been named captain for the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ sixth NYC campaign as the club chases a sixth straight appearance in the finals since the competition started in 2008. And last weekend he had his first taste of NRL football, having a quarter on the field during the Vodafone Warriors’ 24-42 loss to Gold Coast at Burleigh Heads.
A week on he will lead the Vodafone Junior Warriors in their trial against a Waicoa Bay Selection in the curtain-raiser to the Vodafone Warriors-Penrith NRL trial at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton (1.45pm kick-off today).
In between it all, Bhana has also had a taste of modelling life this week. He was used in Monday’s photo shoot for this year’s official merchandise brochure and he also appeared live on TVNZ’s Good Morning show as a Bendon Man model on Valentine’s Day (along with team-mates Viliami Lolohea and Ngataua Hukatia).
CLICK HERE TO SEE DAVID BHANA'S APPEARANCE ON 'GOOD MORNING'
It’s strictly football business today when he features in a Vodafone Junior Warriors side including a total of 11 players who had experience in the NYC last year.
Apart from Bhana the others are Viliami Lolohea, Sione Feao, Ngataua Hukatai, Eko Malu, Mason Lino, Albert Vete, Michael Sio, James Taylor, Kouma Samson and Raymond Faitala-Mariner. The new faces in the starting line-up are Tuimoala Lolohea at fullback and Esera Esera on the wing (Lolohea scored twice in last week’s trial win against Howick while Esera snared a hat-trick).
Among those on the bench is Tama Koopu, younger brother of long-time Vodafone Warrior Wairangi Koopu, and the sought-after Solomone Kata, who has been signed from rugby union after starring for the Sacred Heart College First XV.
There’ll be another NYC trial on Sunday when most of the players used against Howick face Glenora at Cornwall Park (2.00pm kick-off).
v WAICOA BAY SELECTION: Tuimoala Lolohea; Viliami Lolohea, Sione Feao, Ngataua Hukatai, Esera Esera; Eko Malu, Mason Lino; Albert Vete, Michael Sio, James Taylor; Kouma Samson, Raymond Faitala-Mariner; David Bhana. Interchange: Sam Cook, Sam Lisone, Kurt Robinson, Tama Koopu, Solomone Kata, Abraham Papalii.
v GLENORA: Metia Lisati, Ken Maumalo, Phoenix Paeu, Charlton Brown, Alamoti Finau, Toafofoa Sipley, Carlos Hotene, Mike Young, Vincent Afoa, Andrew Holani, Jeff Sua, Stedman Lefau, Kruz Tupou, Viliami Kaveinga, Katamiro Atera, Semisi Tyrell, Eric Newbigging, Sunia Hala, Shawn Marsters.