Rookie pacesetter for Vodafone Junior Warriors
Thursday 13 September 2012 1:46 PM
First-year NYC centre Ngani Laumape is still setting the pace in the race to be the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ top try-scorer this year.
Following off-season knee surgery, his introduction to the competition was delayed until the round seven clash against South Sydney but he wasted no time making an impression, scoring two tries on debut.
He has gone on to make 19 consecutive appearances since and now boasts a tally of 16 tries. His touchdown in last Sunday’s heart-breaking loss to Canberra was his first in four games in a season when he has twice scored a hat-trick, both of them against North Queensland.
Laumape has a two-try lead on hooker Siliva Havili, who snared his 14th try of the year last week, with winger Viliami Lolohea (12) and fellow centre Ngataua Hukatai (10) the next closest.
While he has a rugby league background, the 19-year-old Laumape was playing rugby union for the Palmerston North Boys’ High School First XV last year and also played for the New Zealand Secondary Schools side.
Fullback Omar Slaimankhel, named on an extended bench for Saturday’s sudden-death play-off against the Sydney Roosters, has scored eight tries in 13 games in an injury-disrupted season, lifting his career total to 47 in 50 appearances.