Ipswich State High School duo sign with St George Dragons
Two top teen rugby league prospects from Ipswich could be on their way to representing one of rugby league’s most storied clubs after signing NRL deal
Two Ipswich teens could be on track to play for one of rugby league’s most storied clubs after signing NRL deals on the back of leading their school to a history-making premiership.
Towering prop Loko Pasifika Tonga and speedster Joven Gyemore have been rewarded for helping Ipswich State High School to its first Langer Trophy with both being signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The 17-year-old Tonga, who stands tall at 194cm and 122kg, has signed for three years while Murgon’s Gyemore, an electric wing or outside back, has signed for one year.
The Ipswich State High School rugby league boys come in pairs - at least that’s what it looks like if we take the Redcliffe Dolphins signing of Tommy Luhrman and Caleb Jackson
, and now the Tonga and Gyemore signings into consideration.
For Tonga, the opportunity was not only unexpected, but a blessing in disguise.
The Year 11 was living in Melbourne in 2021, before moving to Brisbane without his family to expand his rugby league horizons in 2022 but it didn’t all go to plan with Keebra Park State High School opting not to select him in their Langer Trophy squad.
But champion school Ipswich SHS came to the rescue and the rest was history and funnily enough, in round one the two powerhouse teams met and Ipswich came away 24-16 winners. “Beating them in round one knowing they didn’t select me helped a lot with my confidence, knowing what I could be,” Tonga said.
“I was pretty shocked at first when I got the call from Craig, my agent, saying the Dragons want to have a meeting.
“I had a little cry at school with the boys.”
This was around October, after his Ipswich team had been crowned the best rugby league team in the nation, when Tonga and his teammates were still training.
“Mr. Dore (one of Tonga’s coaches at Ipswich) says only elite players train everyday...of course, we never stop. Two gym sessions and two field sessions a week,” Tonga said.
“I didn’t know I was going to be signed at all, never in my whole life.
“Realising my dream was coming true, well I was quiet for a few days, I thought it was a dream the whole time.
“I called my mum after and we had a little cry, then, I sat on the field, thanking Ipswich for what they’ve done for me to get this far.”
The Dragons have set the friendly giant up with a house and his parents are on their way to Sydney so that they can live together again.
“One of the reasons we took it (the contract) this year was so I can start living with my family again,” Tonga said.
After just three weeks training with the Dragons SG Ball squad, Tonga has been promoted into the leadership group.
“I was pretty stoked to hear another Ipswich boy (Gyemore) was coming with me, I didn’t want to go by myself so it’s sick having a mate go through it with me,” Tonga said.
Originally published as Ipswich State High School duo sign with St George Dragons
Ipswich State High School duo sign with St George Dragons | Herald Sun