‘Dream come true’: Siteni Taukamo on scoring Greece’s first-ever Rugby League World Cup try

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18-year-old Siteni Taukamo put his HSC exams and birthday celebrations on hold to represent Greece as they made their Rugby League World Cup debut in England on Tuesday.

Taking on France, the Australian-born with Greek, Tongan and New Zealand heritage, made history when he scored Greece’s first-ever Rugby World Cup try.

The 57th-minute try came when captain, Jordan Meads, put in a perfect grubber that Taukomo latched on to.

Whilst met with applause heard throughout Eco-Power Stadium, it was no match for the roars heard back in Athens from fans watching on at a local taverna.

Although Greece lost 34-12, Taukamo, who is contracted to the Cronulla Sharks until 2024, told reporters after the match that the try was “deja vu”.

“I actually had a dream about scoring a try, so it’s deja vu,” he said.

“It was the exact same thing – off a kick and scoring.”

In an Instagram post, the Cronulla flier said: “Saying that I’m blessed, honoured and privileged to represent my heritage is an understatement.”

“We didn’t get the result we would’ve liked, but all I can say is that we made history for not only ourselves but for our Greek community back home,” the 18-year-old continued.

“6 months ago Rugby league in Greece became legal to play and now I get to stand beside my brothers to proudly showcase our talent worldwide.

“The journey that these boys have been on to be where we are at now is just incredible. So many trial and tribulations but they stuck through and found success. Couldn’t have asked for such a proud and honoured team to have come into.”

Taukamo has followed in the footsteps of brother Tyrone, who had played for Greece in the 2018 Emerging Nations World Cup.

“Siteni was at the point earlier this year where we thought we couldn’t take him,” head coach, Steve Georgallis said.

“We knew about him after his brother played for us a few years ago but because he was only 17 years old, we weren’t sure he could play. Then we worked out he turned 18 the same week as our first game.

“It was his birthday last Saturday, which meant he could play, but we tried to keep the celebrations low-key.”

Greece’s head coach, Steve Georgallis.

Pointing to the Greek team more broadly, Georgallis said: “I am just so proud of the effort the players put in.”

“We were playing a professional team and there are probably only three or four players in our team who professionally train.

“The rest do it as a second job and some don’t even do it as a job. They don’t get paid, so I just can’t believe the effort they put in.”

Referring to Nick Mougios’ 79th-minute try which has been dubbed “one of the tries of the tournament” where he collected a cross-field kick and raced from 40-metres out, Georgallis said: “To score that try right at the end sums up how much it means to them to play for Greece and how much it is going to mean for Greece to have rugby league as part of their sporting culture there.”

SOURCE: NRL.com

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