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The captain of the football team confesses his love for Nina – but is he all he seems?
Remember the good old days of courtship, when a young couple would trade longing looks across their local coffee shop, or send mystery gifts as a token of their affection? But in a true sign of the times, Erinsborough’s latest lovebirds have chosen a very modern method of getting to know each other – text messaging on their mobile phones!
So far, schoolgirl Nina Tucker has received several heartfelt declarations – but she has no idea who her admirer is. This fortnight, all will be revealed when football captain Taj Coppin finally confesses to sending the messages. But as newcomer Jaime Robbie Reyne, who plays Taj, reveals, the football captain may not be all he seems.
“There’s more to the story than meets the eye and it’s not a straightforward romance,” reveals Jaime. “Nina starts receiving all these text messages on her mobile phone, and she finally works up the courage to ask Taj if he sent them. However, Taj pretends to have no idea what she’s talking about, but offers to help her find out who did send them.”
While Nina racks her brains trying to work out who her mystery admirer is, Taj uses the excuse of helping her track him down to get to know her better.
“Even though he’s the captain of the football team, he’s very shy – which is why he doesn’t come out and admit to sending the messages,” says Jaime. “He’s worried that Nina will reject him.”
Finally, Taj builds up the confidence to send Nina a message suggesting a meeting. But Nina has no idea that he’s the one who’s behind it!
“The message proposes meeting for a picnic, and Nina asks Taj to join her for safety and security,” explains Jaime. “They arrive together and have a bit of a laugh, then Taj says he’ll hide in the bushes to keep an eye on her when her admirer turns up. So he leaves Nina alone, and then a few seconds later he comes back and admits ‘OK, it’s me – I’m your secret admirer.’”
While many a girl would be annoyed by Taj’s game-playing, Nina is delighted to discover that he really is interested in her. But her happiness could be short-lived when Taj’s sister, Tahnee, tells Michelle Scully that he already has a girlfriend.
“Taj invites Nina to join him and several other kids from Ramsay Street at a beach house,” explains Jaime. “He thinks everything is going really well – Nina is totally relaxed around him, and he even gets to kiss her. But then Michelle tells Nina what Tahnee told her on the phone. Nina is really angry and demands to know the truth. Taj has to admit there is someone else, but he says he has an explanation…”
So, is Taj really cheating on Nina? Jaime won’t tell, but he does think his character is a good guy rather than a bad one.
“He’s a nice bloke – very sensitive and thoughtful towards other people,” says Jaime. “Even though he’s the leader of the pack, he’s pretty down to earth, and I think he’ll do the right thing by her.”
Jaime is one of three new stars to join the long-running soap in as many weeks. Along with Jay Bunyan, who plays Jack Scully, and Michelle Ang, who plays Lori Lee, Jaime is being hailed as part of the ‘new generation’.
“People are making a big deal of that because we’ve all come in at once, and there are people like Holly Valance (Flick Scully) leaving,” explains Jaime. “But I don’t feel any pressure. I’m Jaime Robbie – not a replacement for anyone else. So I guess you could say we’re the new breed but we’re a different breed!”
This article originally appeared in Inside Soap magazine, dated February 2003, and was written by Jason Herbison