|Tahu while 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)
|This section requires expansion. (May 2016)|
Parramatta Eels (2005-07)
In 2004, Tahu announced that he had signed a 3-year contract to join the Eels.
The 2005 season saw Tahu join the Eels backline in his new position of centre. After initially struggling in this unfamiliar role, he went on to score 10 tries for the season, including a hat-trick in his side's 56–4 win over the Bulldogs. For his efforts he was awarded with the joint Eels Player of the Year Award along with captain Nathan Cayless. Injury again shortened his season and he was restricted to only playing 16 games. He did however, make yet another appearance for the NSW side in the final match, scoring yet another try. Tahu was selected in the post-season test match squad but was restricted by injury to playing in only one game.
Tahu was once again injured early on in the 2006 season and missed a few rounds. But he returned strongly by scoring a double in his Round 5 match against the Penrith Panthers. He participated in the Anzac Test for Australia scoring a double in their 50–12 win over New Zealand. However, yet again he was in and out of injury. He represented NSW for all 3 of the State of Origin matches. His season was ended prematurely when he injured his knee in the third match for his state.
Tahu started the 2007 season slowly. Despite scoring a try in Round 2, he suffered yet another leg injury mid-season that kept him out of 9 games. He continued from this by scoring a further 5 tries for the season, including a double in the Eels record 68–22 win over the Brisbane Broncos in Round 25 in which Tahu scored his 100th career try.
On 20 March 2007, Tahu announced he would be switching codes to 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.
On 19 December 2007, Tahu agreed to a four-year contract with Shute Shield club, West Harbour. He joined fellow League convert Lote Tuqiri at the club.
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.
Tahu made his debut performance in the Super 14 competition in the Waratahs clash with the Wellington Hurricanes on 16 February 2008. Tahu impressed by setting up two tries for Lachlan Turner. Tahu suffered yet another hamstring injury during 2008. He was ruled out of the Waratahs clash with the Crusaders, but the injury was later declared a 6-week recovery period.
Tahu made his long-awaited return from injury in the Waratahs Round 13 match against the Stormers, coming off the bench. He had been declared available two weeks prior to returning, missing the first week due to coach Ewan McKenzie not wishing to rush him back unnecessarily, and failed to make the side at all in the following game. He did however return to the side towards the end of the season and participated in the Waratahs grand final loss to the Crusaders.
Tahu began the 2009 Super 14 season playing in the position of inside centre. However, unlike his success in this position for Australia A, he failed to have the same impact for the Waratahs. Despite scoring tries in rounds 2 and 4, Tahu played a lot of his games off the bench during this period, coming in at wing or outside centre.
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. He also succeeded in earning a further cap against South Africa, however injury cut his tour short.
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 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)
- Became the 46th Dual International as of 2008.
- 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.