Rabbitohs number nine, Issac Luke, today (Thursday) revealed just how keen he was – and still is – on playing in the upcoming Auckland Nines tournament in New Zealand, and the lengths he went to do so.
Despite not being named in Michael Maguire’s 16 man 2014 squad, Luke kept the Rabbitohs mentor fully aware that he was ready and willing to pull on the jersey in the reduced format of the game right up to the last minute.
“I actually took my boots over (last tournament),” said the enthusiastic Luke of the 2014 tournament.
“I was asking Madge on the days if I could play, but we’ll see how it goes and I’ll be hammering him from now on to let me play.
“I know he’s given me a few things to work on over the Christmas break to be able to look after myself.
“It’ll be awesome to be a part of – I got to watch it last year and I’m just getting itchy thinking about it right now.”
Luke was on hand to launch the Rabbitohs’ 2015 Auckland Nines playing strip today in Sydney, proudly donning the unique red, white and green strip featuring the Maori Koru symbol from his home of New Zealand.
“It’s just good to be back in the colours,” said Luke.
“A few Koru patterns on there as well – it’s pretty ‘gangster’.”
The Koru symbol is featured strongly in Maori culture, including decorations on tombs, monuments, meeting houses, as well as jewellery, carved wood, painting and celebratory paraphernalia and is featured in part to pay homage to Pacific Islander Indigenous Communities.
Should Luke play in the tournament – beginning on January , the 27 year old hooker will have the opportunity to play for a third major Rugby League trophy, after playing integral roles in the Rabbitohs’ successful 2014 Premiership campaign, as well as New Zealand’s Four Nations victory.
But for Luke, the trophies are all about the Members and supporters – pointing to South Sydney’s 21st Premiership win as the prime example.
“The biggest thing is to be able to take it (the Provan-Summons trophy) back to our home,” said Luke.
“That’s what made me happy – to be able to take it back to our Members and fans and give them what they have wanted for a long time.”