While last weekend marked a special occasion for all of the players involved in the Representative Round, young New Zealand Warrior Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s experience was straight out of his wildest dreams.
The 21-year-old enjoyed the unique honour of playing for his country, the Cook Islands, just six days after making his NRL debut on the wing in the Warriors’ 14-13 win over the Roosters in Round 9.
“It was surreal, I caught myself just sitting in bed thinking ‘man, I can’t believe this has happened’,” Nicoll-Klokstad said.
“Looking at photos with my family and of my dad presenting me with my jersey, it was all surreal and I have had to pinch myself now and again because it’s something I have worked so hard for and has finally been achieved.
“Coming into training this week and seeing my name up on the board with my Warrior number there was unreal.
“Representing the Cook Islands was just the icing on the cake, I take a lot of pride in playing for our little island.”
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was impressive in his debut solid under the high ball and made some great runs. We need to re-sign him!
— Ben Francis (@BenFrancis136) April 30, 2017
Nicoll-Klokstad impressed in his first NRL outing, running for 114 metres and earning praise from coach Stephen Kearney for his desire to get more involved as the match went on.
After battling illness midweek, which almost forced him to withdraw from the Cook Islands squad, ‘CNK’ was among the team’s best in an eventual 32-22 loss to Papua New Guinea at Campbelltown Sports Stadium last Saturday.
Former Storm legend Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is killing it for the Cook Islands #pacifictest
— Martin Gabor (@MartinJGabor) May 6, 2017
“I was real sick last week, midway through the week I was getting fevers and stuff and I was a bit unsure if I was going to be able to take the field on Saturday, but luckily enough I pulled through and went into the game with just a little sniffle,” he said.
“Looking back now the whole thing did go really fast. That week does all feel like a blur.”
Meanwhile despite losing his spot in the NRL 17 to Solomone Kata, who returns from a hamstring injury for Saturday’s clash against the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium, Nicoll-Klokstad said his goals would remain unchanged when he returns to playing in the club’s Intrust Super Premiership team.
“Just keep enjoying the footy, that’s the biggest goal for me,” he said.
“A lot of things flow on for me when I enjoy my games, so going out there and enjoying myself is my goal.
“It starts again this week.”