Why Tyrel Lomax Chose the ABs over the Wallabies
Tyrel Lomax, 22, grew up with a dream to play for the ACT Brumbies and Wallabies. But the closer he got, the more he realised he couldn’t ignore the black feeling in his stomach. That’s why the hulking front-rower followed his gut, and his heart, to New Zealand to take a rugby chance, knowing he’d regret it if he didn’t back himself to move out of his comfort zone.
“I wanted to play for the All Blacks, that was the main thing,” Lomax said. “And it was about representing my family, getting back to New Zealand.
“I tried to picture myself playing for the Wallabies and wondering what it would feel like. It probably didn’t feel right, to be honest. And I’m happy with how it’s going so far.”
The son of former Canberra Raiders hardman John Lomax was destined to wear Wallabies gold. He’d progressed through the ranks, had a Super Rugby contract as a teenager and at 127kg had the size to be a tighthead prop.
But the All Blacks machine and New Zealand family heritage was always nagging in the background. John Lomax played 15 games for the New Zealand rugby league team and only moved to Canberra to join the Raiders.
So Lomax wanted to wear black and could emerge as one of New Zealand’s World Cup bolters next year, leaving the Brumbies and the Wallabies to wonder ‘what if’ after he moved his career abroad.
Lomax played 15 games for the Highlanders this season, starting in nine of those matches. But perhaps the most important phase of his move was an apprenticeship alongside the most-capped player in Super Rugby history.
Lomax teamed up with Canterbury Crusaders champion Wyatt Crockett for Tasman in the New Zealand provincial competition. Crockett played 202 games for the Crusaders and helped develop Lomax this year.
Soon after Lomax was on the plane to play for the All Blacks and then a New Zealand Māori team.
Original article by Chris Dutton, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 1, 2018.
Photo by Deon Georgopoulos.