Former Howick intermediate student and Howick Hornet’s league player Benaiah Ioelu has been snapped up by the Sydney Roosters on a 2-year development deal.
Benaiah’s first interest in rugby league began at the Howick Hornets club when he was four years of age. He spent his first five seasons at the club, before making the switch to the Ellerslie Eagles.
The path to higher honours was paved through excellent club performances which culminated in selection in Auckland Rugby League age-grade sides since the age of 10.
He also attended the under-16 Kiwis wider training squad camp this year, before debuting for Toa Samoa at under 16 level against the Kiwis last October.
Earlier in the year Beniah started taking part in the Warriors talent development program and played the NSWRL 2019 Harold Mathews champions Newcastle Knights in July, and was selected as one of the Players of the game by the Newcastle side.
Benaiah then captained the under-15 Akarana Falcons team, who went undefeated at the 2019 national Youth Tournament in Rotorua, coming away with the title after defeating Counties Manukau in the final.
He was then named in the tournament team which saw him invited to the next Kiwis camp in January 2020, but was unable to attend due to commitments with the Roosters in Sydney.
Benaiah credits his faith as a big contributor to his success; “The main thing that keeps me going is prayer as I believe I got my talent from God above. My parents have brought me up in a Christian home, and my grandfather was initially against my brother and I playing on Sundays”-but now he just reminds Benaiah to be careful, and not forget his prayers.
“So that’s what I do before, during and after a game – no matter if my team wins or loses, I have to be thankful especially if I come away from a game injury-free.”
He would also like to shout out to those that have helped him on his quest to becoming a professional sportsman: “A big thanks to the coaches and managers, family and friends, and of course my number one fans – dad and mum who have supported me on this journey, and with what I have achieved to date.”