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A bright future for Marsters

Monday January 29, 2018 Written by Published in League
Esan Marsters has been a potent force for Wests Tigers with the ball in hand. 18012628 (use the jpeg) Esan Marsters has been a potent force for Wests Tigers with the ball in hand. 18012628 (use the jpeg)

Should Auckland-born Cook Islands rugby league international Esan Marsters build off the success of his NRL rookie season with Wests Tigers, one person that won’t be surprised will be Cook Islands Rugby League Association president Charles Carlson.


Making his debut in round 13 of last season, the then 20-year-old made a notable impact in his 13 appearances for the West Sydney outfit.

He scored five tries while averaging just under 15 tackles and 90 metres per game off 10 hit ups.

He also was a force in the Holden Cup (the NRL youth competition), scoring 10 tries while playing in the back row.

Carlson said that Marsters was always destined for the big leagues, and that his talent and versatility shone through in last year’s Pacific Test against Papua New Guinea, when he started out in the second row before moving to the centres.

“Esan played exceptionally well and has never looked back,” Carlson said.

“He is still young and to be a regular starter in the squad at NRL level is a great achievement for him. He’s an excellent player to have in the squad both on and off the field.”

Marsters’ early success in the NRL has also highlighted the benefits to young NRL players choosing to represent the Cook Islands over New Zealand and Australia.

“Playing for our national squad has exposed many of our Cook Islands players to other opportunities in the NRL,” said Carlson.

The Cook Islands are now coached by former Kiwi star Tony Iro, and the players can benefit from his immense experience as they embark on a professional career.

Carlson highlighted the number of Pacific players now starring in the NRL, and said that it was time for the Cook Islands to take advantage of that.

“I keep saying time and time again, for us to be able to compete at this highest level of international competition, we must have our players playing professionally at this level,” said Carlson.

“Today nearly 50 per cent of NRL players are of Polynesian descent and that is why Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and PNG is able to field a fully NRL squad.”

He believes that if everyone who is qualified to play for the Cook Islands made themselves available, the country would have a side to be reckoned with.

He hopes that Marsters may be the first of many young potential stars to take pride in their country and declare for the Cook Islands.

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