Former Junior Warrior makes debut for Counties Manukau Steelers

The Counties Manukau Steelers are bracing themselves for three games in the next 10 days.  In the side, is a former Junior Warrior who is bucking the trend of young Māori players chasing their NRL dream.

The new breed of war party is stamping their mark on the rugby scene.

Set to debut this year for Counties Manukau Steelers is former Junior Warriors star, Ngataua Hukatai who has been given a second chance.

The Ngati Maniapoto and Tainui descendant says, "16 and 17's a real young age to be put in to a professional atmosphere and stuff."

However,  that's exactly what happened to Hukatai, who is now 21 years old.

"There's always other options outside so you just got to keep your mind at things that might not at first work out for you," he adds.

That other option came in the form of Tana Umaga who says we need to be doing more to protect our young men chasing their dreams.

"I suppose with him coming through the Warriors, he's come through a professional environment, so he's already got knowledge of that too and what it takes to be a professional and with the Warriors a good set up."

Hawke's Bay, Taranaki and Bay of Plenty are all lined up with three games in 10 days for the side.

"I get a shot with the Bs just to get things rolling again, hopefully next week I can get a shot," Hukatai says.

Only then will the dream finally come true.