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A dream come true

The name says it all.

When Jahream Bula runs out in the number one jersey on Sunday against Manly Sea Eagles at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, it will be a dream come true for him, and his parents.

The 21-year-old fullback will become be the second Wests Tigers player to make his NRL debut this season, becoming Wests Tigers Player #269.

It’s been a tricky journey to the NRL, including a relocation from New Zealand to Australia, a desire to pursue basketball over his first true love rugby league, and an injury which put everything on hold.

An incredibly humble young man of strong faith, he explains the origins of his Christian name.

“My dad named me Jahream because first he had my older sister but he also dearly wanted a son,” said Bula.

“According to dad, when I came along, it was a ‘dream come true', because he finally had a boy. So Jahream it was."

There’s a nice touch to Bula’s middle name as well.

His father Peter, who is of both Indigenous Australian and Fijian decent, is a basketball fanatic. 

This might explain in part why Jahream became such a precocious basketball talent himself, and why he considered moving to the States to test himself against the very best.

Peter was not just a basketball nut, but a huge fan of arguably the greatest basketballer of all time, Michael Jordan.

So, there you have it. Middle name, Jordan.

Jahream Jordan Bula.

A serious ankle injury, playing basketball not rugby league, saw Jahream sidelined from all sport for about five months.

But a burning desire to return to rugby league, together with encouragement from former schoolmate Trey Peni, saw Bula join Wests Tigers Jersey Flegg Cup side in 2022.

One of five children, Jahream uprooted from Auckland as a 13-year-old to attend renowned rugby league nursery, Keebra Park State High School.  

Yep, the same school Bula’s current assistant coach, Benji Marshall went to.

The list of Keebra Park students to make a splash in the NRL is longer than Michael ‘air’ Jordan’s leaps.  The school has been producing rugby league talent for decades, and still does. 

Reece Walsh, Payne Haas, David Fifita, AJ Brimson and Te Maire Martin are just some of the former Keebra Park boys who are currently setting the NRL alight.

On Sunday, Bula will join the long list of Keebra Park alumni to play NRL.  He says it’s an achievement that a couple years back, seemed unlikely, but he has continued to believe.

“If you had told me two years ago that I’d be playing in the NRL in 2023, I would’ve laughed and taken it as a joke,” said Bula.

“But my faith has kept me grounded throughout this journey and now I get to showcase the abilities God has given me.

None of this is possible without the man above.

Jahream Bula

And now to Jahream’s Fijian surname, Bula.

“Hello” and welcome to the NRL.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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