Young forward Tukimihia “Tuki” Simpkins will become Wests Tigers Player #248 after he was named by coach Michael Maguire to make his first-grade debut against the Brisbane Broncos.
Having trained with the NRL squad as part of the top 30 this season, the 19-year-old Simpkins has been named on the bench for the Round 18 clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Standing at 192cm and topping the scales at 105kg, the teenage edge forward is viewed as a rising prospect in rugby league having transitioned from rugby union in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Simpkins was initially spotted at the 2016 New Zealand U/15s Rugby League National Championships and spent last year in the North Queensland system before moving to Sydney.
Prior to the start of the season, Simpkins signed a three-year contract with the club that will see him feature in Wests Tigers colours until at least the end of the 2023 NRL season.
Simpkins has played 12 games for the Western Suburbs Magpies in the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup this season, averaging 112 running metres and 32 tackles — with a tackle efficiency of 96 percent.
The youngster was overwhelmed when he was named to make his NRL debut.
"I've made a lot of sacrifices to get to this moment. I've had to move away from my family and get out of my comfort zone, but this makes it all worth it," Simpkins said moments after being named in the NRL side.
"I'm so happy — I was pretty overwhelmed when my name got called out, and I just can't wait for this opportunity.
"I'm going to take this opportunity with both hands. No matter how long I get out there, I'm going to go my hardest and do my team proud."
|Date of Birth||24th December, 2001|
Match: Broncos v Wests Tigers
Round 18 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane