Kiwis told no
By ADAM WRATTEN
TUMBULGUM'S Luke Covell knocked back an opportunity to play for the Kiwis yesterday.
New Zealand coach Daniel Anderson called early in the morning to see if he could lure the winger to his team's cause ahead of Friday week's Anzac clash against Australia in Brisbane.
However, Covell, who has started the 2005 season on fire for new club Cronulla, declined - for the time being at least.
The former Mount St Patricks, Murwillumbah, schoolboy has his sights set on playing Origin footy and for Australia.
Covell, whose father Bruce is from New Zealand, is fast proving himself one of the buys of the 2005 NRL season after two uneventful years with the Tigers.
On the weekend he scored 14 points against one of the competition's front-runners, North Queensland, in what was another impressive performance.
"I'm just concentrating on playing over the top of my opponent week to week and hopefully things will come from that," Covell said.
He said his the initial New Zealand approach was made through his Sharks club mate Nigel Vagana about one and a half weeks ago.
"Daniel was just calling to see if I had made my mind up about which way I wanted to go," Covell said.
"It was a shock. I pretty much said no at this stage.
"This is no disrespect to them, but I have grown up always wanting to play Origin football and for Australia."
The goal-kicking winger's fine performances have moved him into calculations for a Country jersey, one of the goals he set himself for this season.
"Just to be mentioned for Country was my goal," he said.
Covell is right up there with Canberra's Jason Smith, Manly's Ben Kennedy and Parramatta's Glenn Morrison as the league's best-performed off-season recruits.