|Tahu playing for the Knights in 2012.|
16 October 1980 |
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Height||185 cm (6 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||98 kg (15 st 6 lb)|
|Position||Centre, Wing, Second-row|
|2002–10||New South Wales||12||8||0||0||32|
|2010||New Zealand Māori||1||0||0||0||0|
|2013||Indigenous All Stars||1||0||0||0||0|
Timana James Aporo Tahu (born 16 October 1980) is an Australian professional rugby league and rugby union footballer. He currently plays for Denver Stampede in the US PRO Rugby competition. A dual-code international representative three-quarter back for Australia's Kangaroos and then the Wallabies, he could also play second-row and played for New South Wales in State of Origin. Tahu started his career in the National Rugby League for the Newcastle Knights, with whom he won the 2001 NRL Premiership before moving to the Parramatta Eels. He then played for the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super Rugby competition. Tahu returned to the NRL with the Eels and then the Penrith Panthers before finishing his NRL career where it started with the Newcastle Knights.
Tahu was born in Melbourne of a New Zealand Māori father and an Australian Aboriginal mother, as a result he was eligible for both the New Zealand Kiwis and Australian Kangaroos. He grew up in St Kilda before moving with his mother to Bourke in western New South Wales at the age of 12. From there he went on to live in towns including Wilcannia, Grafton and Byron Bay.
Tahu and his partner Kasey have three children. They met while young; their oldest child was born when he was 18.
Rugby league career
Newcastle Knights (1999–2004)
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Parramatta Eels (2005-07)
In 2004, Tahu announced that he had signed a 3-year contract to join the Eels.
On 20 March 2007, Tahu announced he would be switching codes to rugby union join the New South Wales Waratahs in Super Rugby from the 2008 season. Tahu's contract with Parramatta ended at the end of the 2007 NRL season after three seasons in the Eels. The contract with the Waratahs was expected to be a four-year deal.
Rugby union career
In 2007, Tahu shocked the NRL when he announced that he had decided to move to rugby union. His contract with the Eels was set to expire at the end of the year, thus the NSW Waratahs attempted to sign him.
In Tahu's final game in the NRL, he was put on report for a head slam on Melbourne Storm player Israel Folau. He received a two-match suspension, and although his rugby league career was over this suspension still carried across into rugby union.
On 26 January 2008, Tahu played his first game of rugby union. The game was a trial match between the NSW Waratahs and the Queensland Reds, which the Waratahs won 26–10.
Wallabies and Australia A
During the 2008 Pacific Nations Cup, Tahu repeatedly performed for Australia A, playing at both wing and inside centre. His performance against Tonga at North Sydney Oval, in front of new Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, in which he played at inside centre, caused him to declare that inside centre is his preferred position. Here he scored a try and made six assists, tearing the opposition defence apart. He also scored the winning try against the Samoans, with a long distance intercept effort. On 6 July Tahu played a pivotal role in the Australian A's final Pacific Nations Cup game against New Zealand Maori, scoring 2 tries.
On 7 July 2008, Tahu was named in the 30 man Wallabies squad for the Tri-Nations series.
On 26 July, Tahu made his first appearance as a substitute for the Wallabies against New Zealand in the Tri-Nations. Despite only coming on towards the end of the game, Tahu effectively made himself Australia's 46th Dual-International. Tahu earnt a further cap against South Africa in Johannesburg in a starting role only for the Wallabies to be defeated 53-8.
Return to rugby league (2010-2014)
On 22 July 2009, it was announced that Tahu would return to league and would rejoin his former club, Parramatta Eels on a three-year contract in 2010. He ended his career with league when in 2007, he signed a nearly $2 million, four-year contract with the ARU and NSW Waratahs.
In 2010, Tahu earned a recall to the New South Wales State of Origin team and was involved in a race-related incident with assistant coach Andrew Johns. In New South Wales Blues training, Johns reportedly called Greg Inglis "a black cunt". Tahu withdrew in protest from the New South Wales Origin team. It is believed Johns made the racial slur at a team bonding session. Johns was reported as telling centre Beau Scott he needed to stop Greg Inglis, and made a racial reference to the Maroons Aboriginal star. Tahu's mother is Aboriginal.
After the tumultuous 2010 season, Tahu requested an extended break from the Eels pre-season training, hoping to return in January 2011. New coach Stephen Kearney denied the request and Tahu was released from his contract. After a period where it seemed possible Tahu would not return to the NRL, Tahu was signed by the Penrith Panthers. Tahu played just 7 games for the Panthers in 2011 before a torn pectoral muscle ended his season. Only a week later it was announced Tahu would be returning to his original club, the Newcastle Knights on a 2-year contract starting from 2012.
On 6 September 2013, Tahu re-signed with the Knights on a 1-year contract.
PRO Rugby (2016–)
It was announced in March 2016 that Tahu would play rugby union in the United States in the newly formed PRO Rugby competition. On 24 April 2016, he came off the bench and played a role in Denver's game in San Francisco only a few days after he had moved to the United States from Australia.
- Scored the most tries in a season for Newcastle Knights for 3 consecutive years: scoring 20 tries in 26 games (2000), 18 in 25 games (2001), 21 in 21 games (2002)
- Tahu's NRL Player Profile
- Rugby League Project
- Smith, Wayne (25 July 2008). "Maori war cry stirs Tahu's blood". The Australian.
- Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
- "Tahu comes in from the cold and turns out for the Blues". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 May 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Timana prepares to be 'bored'
- Geddes, Jon (23 June 2008). "Dazzling Timana Tahu eases Wallabies' centre puzzle". The Daily Telegraph.
- Timana Tahu returning to NRL with Parramatta
- "Race row deepens around Johns". ABC News. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Pace, Daniel. "Tahu Quits Blues over Johns Remark". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- "League: Maori draw with England". The New Zealand Herald. 16 October 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Danny Weidler (5 December 2011). "Tahu and Eels are about to split". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- Barry Toohey (13 February 2011). "Newcastle Knights and Cronulla Sharks end Timana Tahu's hopes of reviving his NRL careers". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- Dean Ritchie (16 March 2011). "Timana Tahu signs one-year deal with Penrith Panthers". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- "Tahu heading back to Knights". One. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.