Austin Dias will make his NRL debut on ‘home soil’ on Sunday and become Wests Tigers player #258.
The 24-year-old prop comes into the side at the expense of James Tamou (calf strain) and will make his first appearance against the Warriors in front of a sell-out crowd at Mount Smart Stadium.
The Kiwi-born forward moved to Australia in his late teens, having played his junior footy in the Waikato region with Taniwharau.
He says Sunday will be a special moment for himself and his family.
"I'm just so happy and it really is a dream come true.
I’ve been working so hard for this for a long time and it’s magic that it’s about to happen."
I never thought I’d be making my NRL debut here in Auckland but as a proud Kiwi in some ways it makes it even more special."Austin Dias
I can’t wait to get out there and do my best for the team and this club”
Dias joined Wests Tigers in 2020 on a train and trial deal after coming across from Canterbury Bulldogs, where he played both NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg.
Prior to his time at Canterbury, Dias was at Parramatta. He was a member of the Eels 2017 Under 20's squad which made the made NYC Grand Final and included the likes of Reed Mahaney and Dylan Brown.
Dias played in each of Wests Tigers' two pre-season trial matches. He’s made 13 appearances for the Magpies in the KOE NSW Cup this season, averaging 73 run metres and 19 tackles per game.
He has played 38 NSW Cup games for Canterbury and Western Suburbs from 2019-2022.
Coach Brett Kimmorley says he's delighted for both of his debutantes after handing Fonua Pole his first start earlier in the week.
It's great for both Fonua and Oz, they've worked really hard for this moment."
They've prepared well and now they're given a chance."
It's a big moment for both of them. They moved away from home to chase a dream and here it is."Brett Kimmorley
Born: New Zealand