Moeroa eyes double dream

Friday February 10, 2017 Written by Fox Sports Published in League
Cook Islands-born Tepai Moeroa maintains his Olympic gold dream but not before sealing the deal with Parramatta Eels. 17020914 Cook Islands-born Tepai Moeroa maintains his Olympic gold dream but not before sealing the deal with Parramatta Eels. 17020914

TEPAI Moeroa is ready to pick up a shot put again in pursuit of Olympic gold, but not before recommitting to Parramatta’s rebuild for another few seasons.

 

Moeroa is set to re-sign with the Eels within the next fortnight, on what is believed to be a two-year deal that would lock down the boom back-rower until the end of 2019.

At 21, and currently in camp with the World All Stars representing his native Cook Islands, Moeroa will go into his fourth season of NRL having excelled as a junior in both rugby codes as well as track and field.

An ongoing shoulder injury put the outstanding junior shot-putter’s Rio 2016 bid on ice, but with a solid pre-season under his belt Moeroa says he will give athletics on the big stage another crack sometime in the future.

But he’s got a couple of more pressing priorities.

First, the new deal with the blue and golds. Then returning Parramatta to finals football for the first time since 2009.

“We’d like to have (a deal) done by the last trial match so (Moeroa) can concentrate on the season coming,” Eels coach Brad Arthur told foxsports.com.au.

“He wants to get it done too but it’s been hard the last couple of weeks when we’ve been in New Zealand with the Nines and he’s now away in All Stars camp.

“Next week I’d say we’ll be able to have it sorted and that’ll be great to have him here.”

With rugby league the sole pursuit on his radar for the last few years and the next couple as well, Moeroa has pinpointed a NSW Origin jumper as his next personal goal.

But with debilitating nerve damage in his left shoulder a thing of the past, Moeroa says he’s also keeping the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the back of his mind.

Moeroa still holds a number of GPS shotput records from his schoolboy days at Newington that will take some serious beating, and at one point was ranked third in Australia for under 20s.

He says any athletics bid would have to play second fiddle to his football career, and is yet to be discussed in any serious capacity with Parramatta.

“This pre-season has built my shoulders up and I think I’m ready again to pick up the shot put again,” Moeroa said.

“The training for that’s a bit of everything. Mass, power stability, just really rounding my shoulders and upper body.

“I’ve put on three or four kilos of muscle this pre-season with (new head of strength and conditioning) Ronnie Palmer and (strength and conditioning coach) Nathan Beutel in the gym.

“They’re really good with that specific training but a lot of our footy training, obviously the weights is really similar to what I’d do for shot put.

“It’s basically two birds with one stone, so it’s good.

“Footy is always first. When I’ve got that on track then I’ll look at branching out into shot put again and look at a specific goal like Commonwealth Games or Olympics. But it’s not set in stone or anything yet.”

Arthur said he would be willing to discuss options around Moeroa’s athletics career if it meant keeping him at the club he first signed with as a 14-year-old in 2010.

“He hasn’t come to me with any specific requests but we know he’s committed to rugby league,” Arthur said.

“Down the track he might want to look at it, we’d have to talk specifics then.

“He’s got aspirations with what he wants to get out of his career and life, I do too with this team. He’s a big part of it football-wise.”

Moeroa’s new Eels deal will put paid to speculation of a code-switch to rugby in the near future.

While big money offers have come in the past from Super Rugby franchises the Waratahs and Chiefs as well as French and Japanese outfits, the 15-man game may yet lure him further down the line.

“It’s always an option,” Moeroa said.

“I loved playing rugby when I was at school and playing in a rugby backline, there is more open space which is tempting.

“But I’m definitely at Parramatta for now ...

“I’ve put in a lot of work this summer and my shoulders are feeling good. I’m ready to go.”

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