Former rugby sevens star Jesse Parahi turned down Olympics for NRL chance
DECEMBER 11, 20153:28PM
CHRISTIAN NICOLUSSIThe Daily Telegraph
THE decision to give up on his Olympic dream for the chance to join NRL premiership long-shots the Wests Tigers might pay dividends for Jesse Parahi after all.
Parahi could have been forgiven for thinking he’d made the wrong call to ditch Australia’s rugby sevens side — and the chance to win gold in Rio — when the Robbie Farah saga continued to overshadow the Tigers’ pre-season.
But Parahi, 26, quickly knuckled down and impressed his teammates and coach Jason Taylor alike. While it remains to be seen if Parahi will be there for the Tigers come round one against the New Zealand Warriors, the 105kg blond giant is determined to stick around at the joint venture more than one season. With the Farah saga all but settled, Tigers fans can start turning their attention to the club’s fresh faces, including Parahi.
Taylor sees Parahi as a potential lock forward. Parahi spent his junior years playing in the Canterbury competition. The fact he took a gamble by signing a short-term NRL deal during an Olympic year had to be respected, said Taylor.
“He’s obviously backing himself, and that’s what I really like about Jesse,’’ Taylor told The Saturday Telegraph.
“The signs are he’ll make a really good fist of it. “On the field his work rate and enthusiasm and commitment to everything he’s doing really stands out. There is a fair bit of work to do because league is quite different (to rugby sevens), but he’s doing his homework and getting himself up to speed as fast as possible.’’ Parahi said last month he had to weigh up whether to chase his Olympic dream, or make the most of an NRL opportunity that might not present itself again. “The decision kept me awake at nights because it was all very conflicting,’’ he said.