'Fearless' Horo makes NRL debut for Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Fearless' Horo makes NRL debut for Eels

By Ben Horne 05/08/2010 04:38:44 PM Comments (0)

Justin Horo won't be nervous running out against the Gold Coast on Friday night, but the impressive Parramatta rookie can remember when leading an NRL team through the tunnel was just too much to handle.

When he was 10, his famous father Mark was finishing up his league career with the Auckland Warriors, and young Justin was never far from the action.

He mucked around with the players and often got ex-Kiwi prop Joe Vagana into trouble in the gym.

But there was one aspect of being the son of a New Zealand legend which Horo loathed.

"I used to run the team out through the tunnel onto the field which was a pretty daunting experience for a kid," said Horo junior.

"To be honest I hated it. I wasn't a confident kid, it was just something someone in the Warriors had brought up and dad got me to do.

"I remember Steve Kearney, he was captain at the time, he used to try and ease my nerves.

"A couple of times I've gone to run them out and I just couldn't do it so last minute I've had to pull out and go get changed out the back."

The sight of their child mascot running the other way when it was time for kick-off might help explain why the Warriors struggled so much in those fledgling years.

However, Horo's timid personality as a kid is a far cry from the explosive weapon he has developed into as a back rower for the Eels.

At 23 and yet to debut, it shaped as a make-or-break season for Horo, and he'd already started thinking about joining the workforce.

But after finally getting his start in round three, Horo hasn't missed a match and even coming off the bench has been one of the Eels' best.

Now instead of job searching, Horo has forged a secret goal to better the career of his father, who too played for Parramatta and was a New Zealand international.

"Without being too cocky, I'd love to break all the things dad did in the game," said Horo.

"I want to play more games and I want to represent New Zealand and dad never made a finals appearance so if I can do that in my first year that would be a pretty big thing."

Mark Horo couldn't be prouder of the hard work his son has put in to overcome injuries and finally break into the NRL.

However, it's fair to say if Parramatta get on another run in the coming weeks, the old man will be cheering his son on through gritted teeth.

"Eight years of grade and I never got the chance to play finals. If he makes the finals, that'll do me," joked Horo senior.

"There is a past that's been laid but he's been his own man for a while.

"I think it's exciting he's maybe looking at what I done, and making it a goal. It's definitely achievable."

And despite his childhood fear of leading out an NRL team, Mark believes the experience had something to do with Justin ultimately making the big time.

"Some days he didn't love leading us out, but ... he figured a bit out about footy and I think he drew from that," he said.

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