Weight is over for Dolphins’ pacy cult hero Te Whare

Joel Gould |

A streamlined Valynce Te Whare has lost 10kg in the off-season and is set to fire for the Dolphins.
A streamlined Valynce Te Whare has lost 10kg in the off-season and is set to fire for the Dolphins.

Dolphins cult hero Valynce Te Whare transformed his physique over the off-season and is ready to fire in the opening trial match against CQ Capras. 

After the final-round game against North Queensland last year, the blockbusting centre told AAP he needed to make drastic changes off the field.

“I weigh in at 123kg at the moment. It is hard to run around. I want to get to 115kg by the start of pre-season,” Te Whare, 23, said at the time.

His best intentions were there, but Te Whare wasn’t able to reach his target on his own.

Coach Wayne Bennett pulled an unfit Te Whare out of training in the early part of the pre-season and sent him for gruelling sessions with personal trainer Mark “Chopper” Burgess.

He lost 10kg in the sessions to reach his weight goal and came back to training completely transformed.

It is a wonderful story of Te Whare’s commitment and attention to detail by the Dolphins in finding the right no-nonsense mentor to whip him into shape. 

Assistant coach Nathan Fien, who will mentor the side in Rockhampton on Saturday, said Te Whare had done himself proud.

“I don’t know if his career was on the line, but he definitely had some things he needed to work on,” Fien said.

“The big thing for Val was learning to be a professional, and he went away and got himself together.

“He did the hard work and is looking tremendous. The speed at which he is moving across the park now is testament to that hard work.

“He has got talent and it is about channelling it.

“Val has done well to get to where he is after coming back in not so good shape, and he is ready to fire.”

Te Whare played 12 NRL games last year and had a memorable debut, scoring two tries in a big win over Cronulla. 

The arrival of strike centres Herbie Farnworth and Jake Averillo this season will make cracking into the NRL side harder. 

Te Whare did play one game on the wing in 2023, but it is debatable whether that position really suits him. His new-found speed will help his cause.

“It is going to be a challenge for him with Jake and Herbie here, and he is going to have to be playing some really good footy to put his hand up,” Fien said.

“I know Wayne is keen to see how he goes this weekend, and hopefully he presses on in our other trials and into the season.

“It is all about his energy and effort and the little one-percenters for Val and all the boys.”

After taking up rugby league just two years ago, Te Whare is what Fien called “a fascinating story”.

“He has become a cult hero overnight with his debut against the Sharks last year,” Fien said.

“There are not too many players across the NRL who could do what he did that day.”