Nathaniel Tamwoy certainly has an interesting story. A Torres Strait Islander raised on Badu Island, 77kms northeast of Cape York.
Growing up, all Nathaniel knew was AFL and admits it wasn’t until he was 17 years old that he played his first game of rugby. That day it was a club game for the JCU mariners in Cairns. Today Nathaniel will run out for the defending Premiers Sydney University against Eastwood in Mudgee.
His opposing winger is Kiti Ratu, who has already beaten 17 defenders this year and was apart of the Melbourne rising squad in the NRC. Tamwoy is more than ready for the challenge however and has been praised by fellow teammate Nick Champion De Crespigny. “He’s been going really well and I’m excited to see what he can do, he deserves the opportunity,” said Champion De Crespigny.
While Tamwoy admits there are still some rules of the game he doesn’t quite understand he has relished his opportunity. An endeavour to come down to Sydney 2797kms from home to study and play rugby, a game that was hardly familiar.
The defining moment for Tamwoy to come to Sydney was meeting teammate Mitch Whiteley in 2013 at the WWMB learning program at Sydney University. Whiteley, a former Australian schoolboys captain and number 8 in today’s fixture was a mentor for Nathaniel. Without his influence, Tamwoy may have never come to Sydney.
Currently studying a bachelor of applied science in Occupational therapy at USYD Tamwoy balances the rugby and study more evenly these days. “When I first came down it was mainly sport, but now it’s study first then rugby,” said Tamwoy.
With Captain Guy Porter out injured, former Aussie 7’s player James Armstrong slots into 13. A familiar face for Tamwoy to combine with after playing together in the undefeated 1sts colts side in 2017.
“I’m definitely excited to be playing with him, I think we have a really good relationship outside of footy and that helps us combine well on the field,” said Tamwoy.
The 21 year has serious speed and if given the chance in open space he will often capitalize. Scoring his maiden first-grade try last week was “the best feeling ever” but it doesn’t stop there, it only motivates him to go even further.
In what will be his first visit to Mudgee, Nathaniel Tamwoy has praised the effort of both teams to come out to the bush. “It’s a valuable opportunity and I’m excited to play in Mudgee,” said Tamwoy.
When asked about where the danger lies for Eastwood he believes they have threats right across the park. “They will come out hard and that first 10 minutes will be huge and most likely dictate the remainder of the game,” said Tamwoy.
Nathaniel’s story is truly inspiring and the road doesn’t stop there as he plans a bright future with many goals. The 21-year-old should be proud of what he has achieved so far. We can only hope there will be a big crowd watching on 7two up at Badu Island.