Cheree Kinnear presents the results of a massive sports weekend.
It’s no wonder Ed Kosi seemed overwhelmed with emotion after the Warriors held the Cowboys in their final NRL game at Gosford.
The 22-year-old wing was a $ 19 an hour night shift worker in a courier warehouse less than a year ago.
Kosi didn’t find out he would make his NRL debut until hours before Sunday’s game, after David Fusitu’a again succumbed to a hamstring problem.
Kosi was targeted by the Cowboys and was surprised for his speed on one occasion. But overall it was a great start, and he came out of his wing to make a big tackle to force a roll, with teammates rushing to congratulate him.
South Aucklander’s league career was at a standstill in 2020, when he hit 110kg.
“Last year I was working with my younger brothers on night shifts… just packing boxes and mail all night,” Kosi said. NRL.com after the 24-20 victory over North Queensland.
“I worked from 9 pm to 6 am, it was a pretty busy work schedule.
“I would have my local games on a Saturday so I would take Friday night off to try and correct my body clock. I was at $ 19 an hour and I’m thankful for that.”
The tall Kosi played for Mangere East in the Auckland Fox Memorial competition, and said he “looked like a prop” after gaining weight.
New Warriors coach Nathan Brown got hold of Kosi on day one of preseason training, saying he needed to lose weight to become a freshman.
“It’s crazy to think about where I was last year, wondering if I would ever play in first year,” said Kosi, who weighs 103kg.
Kosi, who is on a development contract, needed an NRL exemption to play. He managed to call his parents while he was on the bus for Sunday’s game.
“They had just finished church and mom was crying when I told her,” he said.
“I was just trying to bury those nerves. Once I ran over there I thought my legs were going to give way. I was just like ‘this is a normal game, take that first touch’.”
Kosi was paired on the right edge with fellow rookie Rocco Berry, a schoolboy rugby star who was only playing his seventh league game.
Berry, 19 – whose father Marty was an All Black in a test and a 1996 Hurricanes player – is considered a major prospect.
Coach Brown said the two young full-backs “had their moments”.
“They were probably the best in the last 15 minutes when the game was on the line,” he said.
“Thanks, they got it right.”