Kayal Iro with the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Player of the Year award. SHARKS MEDIA/22091315
Cook Islands rep Kayal Iro capped off a breakthrough season with the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Player of the Year award over the weekend.
impressive young outside back made his NRL debut late last month, signed a
contract extension with the Sharks and represented the Cook Islands in a
mid-year Test match against Samoa.
for a Newtown Jets team, Iro was rewarded for a season where he topped the
entire competition for post-contact metres, scored 12 tries, made 14 line
breaks and had an incredible 97 tackle busts.
an interview with Sharks Media after receiving his award, Iro, the son of
former rugby league star Kevin, said he was shocked and lost for words.
paid tribute to his father Kevin and uncle Tony, both New Zealand
had massive influence especially my dad, he’s always trained me as a young kid
… he didn’t really push me to play footy but I wanted to follow in his
footsteps so I think that has led me to here now.”
22-year-old’s mum Tina Iro in a Facebook post on Monday said: “I thank God for
the outstanding year that our humble son has had. Last night he was awarded
Player of the Year for the New South Wales Cup. A couple of weeks ago his
prayers were answered and he made his debut for the Cronulla Sharks.”
true grit and determination has got him this far. He has had many setbacks and
disappointments, but he remained positive and true to himself. As a parent, it
is so encouraging to see our children pushing through. Proud is an
Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said the award was an
extraordinary achievement for Iro “who has become a role model for juniors and
local players wanting to play at this level”.
have always argued for the Cook Islands to compete at the highest level of
rugby league, we must get our players into the NRL system. That is the standard
we want to set, and the result speaks for itself, taking both our men and women
to the World Cup 2023. The next challenge is to make sure we remain competitive
at that level,” Carlson said.
these young players like Kayal is very encouraging for the future. We need to
change our mindset and adapt to the changes otherwise we will be left behind.”
delivered on his immense promise while representing the Jets, to where his talents
couldn’t be ignored by the Sharks at the NRL level.
into the Sharks top-30 earlier this year, then called into the team to play the
Bulldogs in round 24, in a match won by the Cronulla side and where he ran for
184 metres on the night, Iro will be aiming to push for a regular place in the
NRL squad in 2023 after signing a two-year contract extension.
was presented his award at the NSWRL Brad Fittler Medal event on Sunday night
(Cook Islands time) with James Tedesco taking out the major prize on the night
and Sharks Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership player Andie Robinson named NSW
Women’s Under-19’s Origin Player of the Year.