Brisbane Bronco: it’s my dream to be an All Black’
THE Broncos' Jamayne Isaako has left the door ajar for a return to rugby union, revealing he shares Kalyn Ponga's desire to one day represent the All Blacks.
Isaako's value to the Broncos and rugby league is undeniable - the explosive utility back is in contention for the Dally M rookie-of-the-year and top point-scorer awards following a dream maiden season at Red Hill.
But as he prepares for Brisbane's final game of the regular-season against Manly this Sunday, Isaako has not ruled out a code defection to achieve his boyhood dream of playing rugby for New Zealand.
Last week, Queensland Origin star Ponga underscored the challenge the NRL faced to keep its brightest prospects when he admitted there was a chance he could one day quit to chase an All Blacks jumper.
While Isaako has no immediate plans to walk out the Broncos - he last month signed a four-year extension keeping him at Red Hill until 2022 - the 22-year-old says an All Blacks jumper has appeal.
"It's always been my dream to be an All Black," said the Christchurch-born Isaako.
"Sometimes in the future if I get the opportunity to go back home and play rugby, I'd look to take that opportunity with both hands.
"I'm here at the Broncos for another four years, but beyond that I'm keeping my options open.
"Whether I re-sign again or I go home to play rugby, I'm not too sure … but playing rugby is still a possibility."
Isaako has scored 213 points this season and can stave off Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell (204) for the top point-scorer's gong with a handy haul against the Sea Eagles this Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.
But while Isaako has been a revelation in the NRL, his rugby ties cut deep. Before he was spotted by the Cronulla Sharks as a 17-year-old, Isaako had never played rugby league and dreamed of emulating All Blacks legend Dan Carter.
"I idolised Carter, me and my family would go and watch (Canterbury) Crusaders games," Isaako said.
"I loved Carter's goalkicking and he was the one guy I tried to copy with my kicking.
"Me and Jordan Kahu (Broncos utility) are proud Kiwis and we have mates in the All Blacks team.
"I have connections back home and they know I'm settled in league so they won't approach me, but if I was to choose to go back to rugby, I have people I know who could get me back home."
On Tuesday, the Broncos rested hooker Andrew McCullough (concussion) for the clash with the Sea Eagles following his sickening collision with Roosters prop Dylan Napa.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett resisted the temptation to start Sam Thaiday at hooker, instead opting for rookie Jake Turpin.
"We will definitely miss Macca," Thaiday said. "Defensively he leads our line-speed and tackle count every week, but it's a blessing in disguise, it gives him a rest leading into the finals."
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