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Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 5:00 am
by wmlmaster
If you want to know what drives Mahe Fonua, you only have to look at the two golden letters engraved into his front teeth.

M and F.

At the age of 15, the Wests Tigers outside back had his father's wedding ring melted down and used to spell out his initials in his mouth.

It's one of the first things you notice about the 25-year-old flyer, who in 2012 made history when he became the first Victorian-bred player to make his NRL debut.

In his native Tonga, it's a custom and rite of passage for young men and women to have their parents' wedding bands melted down and cast into a golden tooth.

North Queensland sensation Jason Taumalolo underwent the same procedure, only Fonua's parents asked that they be moulded into his initials.

Fonua describes family as his driving and his teeth as a permanent reminder of what he's striving for.

"It's actually my dad's wedding ring," Fonua said.

"Because I wear a mouthguard, no one actually notices. They just think it's gold teeth until they see a photo.

"That's my drive. Heaps of other players have different reasons for how they play. My family is the reason why I play.

"I'm a really family-orientated person. Knowing I've walked off the field making them proud, it's one of the biggest things for me."

Fonua is back in Australia after two successful seasons with Hull FC in the English Super League and embracing his second shot at an NRL career.

He left the Storm after 50 first-grade games and is determined to nail down a spot in the Tigers' backline.

He's locked in a battle with the likes of Esan Marsters and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak for a spot on Ivan Cleary's left side and will be putting his best foot forward in Saturday's trial against North Queensland in Cairns.

"Now I've been given a second opportunity in the NRL, I really want to grab it with both hands and make the most of it," Fonua said.

"When I went over to Super League, I was still 23 and I'm back here now at 25.

"I'd like to think my two years over in the Super League has helped me mature as a person and as a player and I can benefit from it this season."

Family driving Fonua on his NRL return. https://nrl.sportsmatemobile.com/news/21947.

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 10:45 am
by willow
Hope he can nail down a FG spot, looks like he's worked hard on his fitness since coming back from the WC and I think he could cause some damage with his tackle breaking ability.

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 11:08 am
by jrtiger
Biggest thing I took from that is that Marsters is in a battle for the left side with Fonua and MWZ.

Also great to see this idea of family drive and loyalty amongst the playing group this season, they all seem very grounded.

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 1:23 pm
by Tigerdon
willow wrote:
Wed 14 Feb, 2018 10:45 am
Hope he can nail down a FG spot, looks like he's worked hard on his fitness since coming back from the WC and I think he could cause some damage with his tackle breaking ability.
My head is spinning with the Left side combo's at Centre and Wing. I can think of more than 10 possible Wing/Centre combo's just for the LHS (not including Milne and Nofo as the RHS pairing).

Fonua (Centre) with / Kev / MWZ/ Thompson (wing)
Marsters (Centre) with Fonua / Kev / MWZ/ Thompson (wing)
Kev (Centre) with Fonua / MWZ/ Thompson (wing)
McIntyre (Centre) with Fonua / Kev / MWZ/ Thompson (wing).

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 2:04 pm
by innsaneink
willow wrote:
Wed 14 Feb, 2018 10:45 am
Hope he can nail down a FG spot, looks like he's worked hard on his fitness since coming back from the WC and I think he could cause some damage with his tackle breaking ability.
He's a wrecking ball with the ball...I hope hes there too...i also hope his defence is up to it...something I'm not too sure on his ability

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 4:41 pm
by TIGER
Nofo and Fonua wing

Marsters and Milne centres.

Would be my pick of the bunch.

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 5:18 pm
by colmcd
TIGER wrote:
Wed 14 Feb, 2018 4:41 pm
Nofo and Fonua wing

Marsters and Milne centres.

Would be my pick of the bunch.
Just read this. McIntyre showing the right attitude and it seems we may be breeding it.
https://www.weststigers.com.au/news/201 ... long-haul/

But I would pick exactly what you are saying. Tough centers and wrecking ball on wing.

Yet I think Kevie is actually firming up as either a center or winger. Good thing he isn't a co-captain so he can't get a walkup. but he has always had potential.

Would love to see Sam McIntyre push for a front row position... the back is seriously feeling like a kingswood or Falcon bench seat with 7 people trying to fit into the 4 spots.

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 7:10 pm
by LCA
jrtiger wrote:
Wed 14 Feb, 2018 11:08 am
Biggest thing I took from that is that Marsters is in a battle for the left side with Fonua and MWZ.

Also great to see this idea of family drive and loyalty amongst the playing group this season, they all seem very grounded.
I watched the interview on the Tigers website and he seems to be a really thouhtful and humble guy. In fact, the whole squad is impressive in that regard. As a fan of the Tigers (in all its forms) for 48 years and a 10 + year member of Wests Tigers, I am so impressed with the directions the club is heading in in terms of the calibre and quality of the squad and staff. So looking forward to 2018.

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 7:14 pm
by Tigerdon
LCA wrote:
Wed 14 Feb, 2018 7:10 pm
jrtiger wrote:
Wed 14 Feb, 2018 11:08 am
Biggest thing I took from that is that Marsters is in a battle for the left side with Fonua and MWZ.

Also great to see this idea of family drive and loyalty amongst the playing group this season, they all seem very grounded.
I watched the interview on the Tigers website and he seems to be a really thouhtful and humble guy. In fact, the whole squad is impressive in that regard. As a fan of the Tigers (in all its forms) for 48 years and a 10 + year member of Wests Tigers, I am so impressed with the directions the club is heading in in terms of the calibre and quality of the squad and staff. So looking forward to 2018.
Hear, hear!

Re: Family driving Fonua in his NRL return

Posted: Wed 14 Feb, 2018 7:55 pm
by Earl
^^^

I'm also really impressed in relation to the calibre and quality of the squad and staff. We appear professional now.