A FORMER Naracoorte teenager is one of the driving forces behind the revival of rugby league in Murray Bridge.
Peter Tansey, who still has siblings living in Naracoorte, is just about to represent SA at the Australian Secondary Schoolboys Rugby League Championship in Tamworth. Peter's club side River City Knights looked in danger of folding this year, but he and five of his teammates have made such great strides forward that they've won State selection and ensured the immediate survival of their club.
One of his teammates chosen in the side was his cousin Jesse Mark, who also lived in Naracoorte for three years in the early 2000s. Peter moved from Naracoorte to Murray Bridge with his New Zealand-born parents Peter (Snr) and Lisa two years ago, with rugby league one of the primary reasons.
"We just loved living in Naracoorte and called it 'home away from home'," Lisa said.
But with no formal rugby competition or exposure in Naracoorte, Lisa said "we wanted to give him the opportunity culturally and so he could play a sport he's naturally good at.
"He's always had that interest. Even though he was not brought up in New Zealand it's always been in my family. My brother made New Zealand juniors."
Despite the fledgling status of the sport in Murray Bridge, where the club doesn't have its own clubrooms or even its own field, Peter has made every post a winner.
Playing as a second rower who likes to score tries, he played only a handful of games last year and was picked for the SAPSASA State trials.
"This year, he went for it and made it through with flying colours," Lisa said of his efforts to make the State team.
Having only just turned 13, Peter is one of the youngest to have ever been picked in the State under 15 team. With a total of six Knights players chosen in the SA side, the Murray Bridge club is very well represented. The championships will be in Tamworth from Sunday until next Wednesday.