Timana James Aporo Tahu (born 16 October 1980 in Melbourne, Victoria) is an Australian retired professional rugby league and rugby union footballer. A dual-code international representative three-quarter back for Australia’s Kangaroos and then Wallabies, he could also play second-row and played for New South Wales in State of Origin. Tahu started his career in the National Rugby League for the Newcastle Knights, with whom he won the 2001 NRL Premiership before moving to the Parramatta Eels. He then played for the New South Wales Waratahs in the Super Rugby competition. Tahu returned to the NRL with the Eels and then the Penrith Panthers before finishing his playing career where it started with the Newcastle Knights.
Tahu was born in Melbourne of a New Zealand Māori father and an Australian Aboriginal mother, as a result he was eligible for both the New Zealand Kiwis and Australian Kangaroos. He grew up in St Kilda before moving with his mother to Bourke in western New South Wales at the age of 12. From there he went on to live in towns including Wilcannia, Grafton and Byron Bay.
Tahu and his partner Kasey have three children. They met while young; their oldest child was born when he was 18.
Newcastle Knights (1999–2004)
A Central Charlestown junior, Tahu debuted for the Knights in 1999 at the age of 18, playing on the wing. He only played 3 games that season, but managed to score a try in his second game. The following season was highly successful for the young winger, as he topped the knights try scorer list with 20 tries. In 2001, he continued this success, again becoming the club’s top try-scorer for the season scoring 18 tries. He played in his first representative game playing for Country New South Wales in their 42–10 thrashing of City Origin, playing in the centres. He played on the wing in the Knights side that won the 2001 NRL Grand Final against the Parramatta Eels 30–24, scoring the winning try.
2002 saw continued success for the young winger. He scored 21 tries in 21 games to become the club’s top try scorer for the season for the third consecutive year. He scored his first ever hat-trick in his side’s Round 8 win over the Melbourne Storm. For his consistent efforts for his club and his prolific try scoring abilities, he earned a place on the wing for the Country Origin side, scoring two tries in their loss to City. This impressive display earned him a place in the NSW side to compete in the State of Origin series. He played in all three matches, managing to score a try in the second game (the series went on to become a tie as a result of the 18–18 scoreline of the decider). He followed up this success with two caps for the Australian Kangaroos National side later in the year, scoring a try in each match.
The 2003 season saw Tahu continue his success as a prolific tryscorer. However, his season was shortened significantly due to recurring injuries. Despite this, he still managed to score 14 tries in the 14 games that he did play. During this season he surpassed teammate Robbie O’Davis’ record as the all-time Knights top tryscorer (having played half as many games as the former record holder). He scored a hat-trick in Round 19 in his side’s loss to the Penrith Panthers (he was the only player from the Knights to score any tries in the game). He followed this up with another hat-trick in Round 25. He also represented Country Origin (scoring a try in the match) and also NSW again in the State of Origin series, playing in all three matches and scoring 3 tries. Injury kept him from representing the national side again in the post-season.