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18 Nov 2017 17:35
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Raiders' Tapine working hard for NRL spot

    After a breakout season which saw him play for the Kiwis at the Four Nations, Joe Tapine is working hard to keep his spot in a fearsome Raiders pack.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    With a breakout NRL season leading to his Kiwi debut last year, Raiders forward Joe Tapine is under no illusions about keeping his spot in an imposing line up.

    Coach Ricky Stuart has added options to a massive pack containing Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo with former Origin star Dave Taylor poised to join the squad full-time and Dunamis Lui arriving in the off-season from St George Illawarra.

    Veteran Jeff Lima may struggle to break into the 17 in his last season in the NRL while two-time Mal Meninga medallist Shaun Fensom has moved to North Queensland.

    With Josh Papalii, Sia Soliola and Clay Priest already in the mix, Tapine said reinforcements had forced players to improve in the off-season.

    "With more experienced players and good players it becomes hard to maintain that spot," Tapine told AAP.

    "It makes you work harder as well. You've got to work for your spot more.

    "I think that's what has pushed the boys a bit more to improve."

    The 22-year-old capped off a strong year for the Raiders with selection for the Kiwis, making his international debut at the Four Nations.

    "It was a buzzy experience," Tapine said.

    "I really didn't expect to be there.

    "I learnt a lot from last season, especially with that international experience I got in a couple of games and I'm trying to take that into this year."

    The toughness of international rugby league was an eye-opener for Tapine but one of many experiences which have helped him to build towards 2017.

    And he is paying attention to the Raiders' older players to add to his arsenal.

    "I've been learning little things that I need to make better in my game," Tapine said.

    "The older guys talk a lot more and are more experienced with certain things - little things like that I'm trying to put in my game."


    NZN




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