How tongue-tied Tame became Gary!

First published in Sport by

Tame Tupou revealed he is still called Gary' by Wayne Bennett - four years on from his famous first meeting with the Brisbane Broncos boss.

Bulls fans trailing the Internet to find details about their new signing might get a little confused when they come across a giant Kiwi winger named Gary Tupou plundering tries for the NRL champions.

It is the one and the same though following the nervous player's bizarre opening gambit with Bennett.

"When I first met him at the end of 2003 my agent at the time had arranged a meeting with him in a hotel in Auckland," Tupou explained.

"I'd followed Brisbane since '92 and had a lot of respect for Wayne Bennett, all the things he'd done for Brisbane and rugby league.

"He's a world legend and I couldn't believe I was meeting someone like that.

"He put his hand out and said "I'm Wayne Bennett" but I was just so nervous. I couldn't look him in the eye or anything and I just said "My name's Gary!"

"My dad's called Gary and it's my middle name. It was the first thing I could think of!

"Anyway, he asked me questions and I was just nodding my head, all the time not looking at him.

"He must have thought I didn't want to be there as I was giving no reaction but hearing the voice of Wayne Bennett and seeing this tall, skinny man stood in front of me, I just froze!"

Despite his stagefright, the young New Zealander signed with the Broncos and made his debut the following year.

But he was actually registered as Gary and it wasn't until 2005 that the record was put straight. Tame - short for Siokatame - said: "After I got a bit of confidence, I told him Gary was not my real name - but even to this day he still calls me it!"

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