Auckland rugby league stalwart Rusty Matua, who served as coach of the New Zealand Māori Ferns last year, will guide the Moanas at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
He’s excited about giving back to his Cook Island roots, and he’s not the only one.
“I’m really humbled and really excited to ackowledge my dads whānau and kaupapa.
“We’ve always done a lot for our Māori rugby league over the years and that’s our mum’s side, so to do something for our dad’s is really nice and so I’m really humbled to have the opportunity and really excited about the opportunity as well,” he said.
The Auckland-based mentor has spent 10 years coaching women’s rugby league.
He was the assistant coach of the Kiwi Ferns at the 2013 World Cup before coaching the New Zealand women’s team in the 2014 trans-Tasman test win against Australia and the inaugural NRL Nines win in 2015.