Dyldam Parramatta Eels second rower Tepai Moeroa starred in the Junior Kangaroo thrilling victory over the Junior Kiwi side on Saturday afternoon, earning Man of the Match honours in their 22-20 victory at Cbus Super Stadium.
Moeroa enjoyed the week long camp with his new teammates, bonding with players he had not played alongside previously.
“I went into camp on Monday and we played the Test on Saturday. Through the week we did a bit of training and team bonding and I got to know the boys pretty well,” Moeroa said.
“The only players I played with before this are Tyrell Fuimaono and Alex Twal so everyone else was new to me.”
“It was good to enter the camp with Tyrell and Alex. They are both young so they hopefully get another chance next year as well, but they both showed maturity and they definitely deserved to be there,” Moeroa added.
Moeroa was surprised to get the call up to the Junior Kangaroos.
“It was a good to get the call up, but I was pretty surprised,” Moeroa said.
“I played for the Wentworthville Magpies on Saturday and after the game I got the call that I had to fly up on Monday so it all happened pretty quick!”
The Junior Kangaroos were coached by Justin Holbrook, the 2014 Eels Under 20’s Head Coach, and Moeroa enjoyed the experience of re-uniting and working under his former coach.
“It was good to re-unite with Justin Holbrook. He is a really good coach and he knows what he is talking about and how to run a team so it was good to work under him again.”
Moeroa was a standout in the clash earning Man of the Match honours for his 132 metres, 22 tackles, try and try assist however the back rower was quick to downplay his efforts, passing on praise to his fellow teammates.
“It is always tough, especially in a Test match playing against New Zealand. It was a tough game but I found it pretty good to be out there and playing in the twenties again,” Moeroa said.
“I just picked a spot and ran. I got lucky!” Moeroa said of his match winning four-pointer.
“My efforts were alright. The boys helped by running great lines so I could get a one on one’s and they definitely helped my stats.” He added.
Moeroa lined up against fellow Blue and Gold squad member Zach Dockar-Clay, and Moeroa praised the Kiwi halfback for his efforts on field and enjoyed the tough challenge against his fellow Eels teammate.
“Lining up against Zach Dockar-Clay was good fun. He is a little bit cheeky, and he has been playing for the Kiwis for the past three years so he is very experienced and he knows what he is doing,” Moeroa said of Dockar-Clay.
“He is a very passionate about his country, and to lead the Haka, it was a big challenge for us.”
“I gave him a few head rubs and a little bit of trash talk but he threw it right back!” Moeroa joked.