Raiders legend Ruben Wiki has 12 years worth of rugby league advice for his daughter Mackenzie but for now, the NRL Hall of Famer is just ‘keeping it simple’ and enjoying his time in the stands as a proud dad.
Donning the same green No. 4 jersey her dad once wore, Raiders NRLW rookie Mackenzie is carrying the Wiki name into rugby league legacy as the first father-daughter duo to play for the same club.
Flying from Auckland to watch his 21-year-old make history with the Raiders inaugural NRLW team, the former Kiwis captain said he’s just like every other dad, yelling out advice and encouragement from the stands.
“We only say Mackenzie in certain situation so when we call out to her by her first name she listens,” Wiki told NRL.com.
“My wife Santa and I were calling out ‘get up Mackenzie’ when she was down in the in-goal and Kenz looked up at us and she got up.
“I always watch her game and give her some feedback straight after so she can soak it in.
“Just give her a dad’s output on what I saw on the game and where she can improve on for the next game.
“I try and simplify it as much as I can too not give her too much but try and keep her on her toes because you got to stay on your toes and you can’t get too comfortable.
“But at the end of the day my main advice is to enjoy it, have fun and keep it simple."
It’s no easy feat, donning the lime green and running out on GIO stadium as “Ruben Wiki’s daughter”.
But after the Cook Islands representative moved from New Zealand seven months ago to chase an NRLW dream, Ruben knows she earned her green jersey through hard and sacrifice alone and is ready to make her own name the nation’s capital.
Ruben Wiki - Hall of Fame
“It’s pretty surreal being back at GIO stadium and seeing my daughter run out there on the same field that I played on for about 12 years,” he said.
“I learned the trade of rugby league here and to now see Mackenzie be back at the same club, in the same jersey, is crazy.
“I think being the child of Ruben Wiki, there's a lot of pressure on both of my kids. But Kenz has always been set to choose her own path.
“It was up to her to get to this stage and her sacrifices to come over here seven months earlier and do the hard yards playing in the Harvey Norman [NSW Women's Premiership], and so forth.
“She’s had a lot of hurdles to get to where she is and full credit to her resilience because she's continually put her best foot forward."
With Ruben returning to Auckland this week to work at his business ‘Wiki Workz Fitness’ the 224-game Raider said that despite the challenges of living across the Tasman, he knows Mackenzie is ready to headline her own rugby league journey.
Chalking four tackle breaks and an average of 77-run metres in her first two games in the top league, the hard running centre is already proving to be a handful on the Raiders' right edge.
Wiki family tour Raiders facility
“She has had a good couple of mixed games. The first week was a lot of emotions and I think the second week, watching their training, the combinations are working a lot better and I think Kenz and her team are only going to keep growing,” he said.
“We’ve been here for two weeks so we’ve got to catch up with everybody. The flying is so expensive I’m going to have to ask for a loan from Kenz.
“But the sacrifice we make is for her to put her in that position to succeed in this game as long as you can and hopefully she can stay in this comp for a long time.
“I'm just her dad. That's who I am, just a very proud dad who can give a little bit of advice on rugby league here and there.
“It’s time to give back to her and follow her journey, all of her trophies are on the wall now and mine have been put to the side.”
Match: Raiders v Wests Tigers
Round 3 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra