Linwood Kea volunteer finalist for NZRL awards

Long-time rugby league supporter Jasmine Tuli has been recognised for her work with the Linwood Keas.

Mrs Tuli is a finalist in the female volunteer category at the New Zealand Rugby League Awards in Auckland on Saturday night.

She is the premier squad’s manager, director of the club in 2017, oversaw the junior committee and under-18 squad, managed and trained the under-16s, helped create the premier women side, represented Linwood at Canterbury Rugby League meetings and took the under-14s to an undefeated finish in a Southern Zone tournament last year.

She has also managed the premier men’s side since 2016 and works full time for Land and Information New Zealand.

Mrs Tuli stayed immersed herself with the Linwood club after the death of her husband Teni Tuli, known as the ‘Godfather’, saying it was like a second home to her, and a second family.

“We are a league family and that is all we do. It is in my blood,” she said.

Teni died of a heart attack on a training field on June 2, 2015, just before his 300th game which he told his teammates would be his last.

He played prop and second row, and debuted for the Keas in 1994 and was part of the grand final-winning teams of 2005 and 2008 and was named premier player of the year three times.

The first she knew about the nomination was when she got a phone call from NZRL telling her she had made the finals and to be in Auckland on Saturday.

“I’m quite honoured to be nominated and I have no idea who has put my name forward but it is my everyday life you know,” she said.

“To be recognised by New Zealand Rugby League is a big achievement so I must be doing something right.”

She played for the Sydenham Swans before getting involved with the Keas.

Mrs Tuli’s 14-year-old son, Uriah, now plays for in the under-16s. He is the captain of his side and plays loose forward.

“He is following in his dad’s footsteps. He is a Kea through and through,” Mrs Tuli said.

Other Canterbury finalists are: St Thomas’ and Hornby Panthers Caius Fa’atili, 16s player of the year, former St Thomas’ and Papanui Tiger Seth Tauamiti, 18s player of the year, Panthers’ volunteers Willy Simon and Jack Newson, male volunteer of the year and Jason Wilson, referee of the year.