Some people you can count on to lift themselves to a new level when the unforgiving forces of pressure come knocking on their door.
Billy Tupou is one such person. With his future at the New Zealand Warriors surely in doubt, he has risen over the last few weeks to a higher domain. A new plateau where there are gaps in an opposition’s defence just inviting his blistering speed off the mark to penetrate cavities with regular monotony.
That he has gleefully accepted said opportunities speaks volumes for the improvement that he has generated in his game in recent times. Last night against Newcastle was perhaps the twenty-one year olds finest game yet for the Warriors.
While some of his teammates were busy trying to (unsuccessfully as it turns out) impersonate superstars during the first half, Tupou was proving to be the real deal. Time and again he would find good metres to be gained up the middle of the park. And unlike some of his mates, there was no error to be seen from him on the end of the movement.
In his element he was; there was nothing hinky about his performance, that’s to be sure. And with the likes of Kristian Inu and Glen Fishiahi waiting in the wings for their chance to reacquaint themselves with first grade football, it’s no wonder that Tupou has been pushing himself onwards towards better things.
Whether he succeeds in securing a future in Auckland remains to be seen. 2012 sees a new coach in Brian McClennan operating out of Mt Smart. It is known that he favors Inu on the wing instead of in the centres, so Tupou may struggle to cement the right wing spot in the long term.
If this does indeed turn out to be the case, at the very least he has shown enough in his six appearances this season to suggest that a contract awaits him somewhere in the rugby league world.