Battle between Fijian flyers promises to light up night

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Oh, baby: battle between Fijian flyers promises to light up night WILL SWANTON
May 21, 2010
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AKU UATE worships three figures: his mother, his God and Lote Tuqiri.

He contacts the first member of this illustrious trio by telephone. He's in conversation with the second through the power of prayer. He will be getting in the face of the third tonight when he locks horns with Tuqiri in one of the most high-octane individual battles of the season during the Knights-Tigers clash at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

A huge tattoo runs down the inside of Uate's suitably large left forearm. Glorious, flowing letters spell his mother's name: Loami Kula.

''When we played the Bulldogs in the first round, that was the first time my mum ever watched me play a game of football in my whole life,'' Uate told the Herald in Newcastle yesterday. ''I was always asking her, 'When are you going to come over, when can you get here?' I kept telling her she needed to come over from Fiji and see what I was doing. She'd never seen me play one game because she was always worried about injuries.

''But I wanted her to come and see my house, see where we play, see how well I was going, meet my mates, everything. After the Bulldogs game, I went to where she was sitting and she broke down and cried because she was proud of me. It really got to me to see her like that. I was so happy that she was proud of me because she lives a long way away. If it wasn't for her teaching me everything when I was young, I wouldn't be here.''

Plan A was for Uate's mother to live with him in Newcastle for two months. Plan B involved getting the next flight back to Fiji when she realised the weather was distinctly un-Fijian.

''She told me, 'I can't stand it, I just want to get back home,''' the 22-year-old said, grinning. ''It wasn't even winter yet and it was still too cold for her. I said 'all right, I'll pay your fare'. She took so much stuff back home it cost us about 500 dollars for extra luggage. I tell everyone that I miss her and how much I love her. Everyone up here knows I'm a mummy's boy.''

Novocastrians have been spoiled for local heroes for two decades. Sam Stewart, Paul Harragon, Andrew Johns - and, now, Uate. Johns's retirement left a void in the excitement machine department but the 97kg Uate - the NRL's leading try scorer, owner of the kind of blistering and exhilarating speed that could get him to the London Olympics if he was so inclined - is the new king of the town. He's such a raw and powerful talent. He's such a likeable and enthusiastic character. His man-on-man stoush with Tuqiri will bring the house down.

''He's been my idol since I was young,'' Uate said. ''I've always looked up to him and thought, 'I want to be like him one day'. It's a great honour to play against him. I want to shake his hand after the game and tell him what an honour it is. It's going to be intense.''

Uate moved to the Central Coast from Fiji when he was 16\. He was ineligible for NSW Origin this year because he played for Fiji in the Pacific Cup last year. But he could set Origin alight like few others and becomes available for the Blues next season. One of the members of the Fijian squad that sent NSW star Jarryd Hayne on his Christian walk at the last World Cup, Uate said of his own faith: ''It's always been a big thing for me. It's what I've grown up with back home. We go to church, we love it, it's traditional and it's part of my life here, too. Every day, I know my God is there for me.''

Johns has been praising Uate for a season-and-a-half. The rest of the NRL started singing from the same hymn sheet when Uate scored a smoking 95m try against Penrith in round four. Jarrod Mullen tapped him the ball and despite applying the brakes near the try line, he'd covered the turf in about 11 seconds.

''I suppose I'm pretty quick,'' Uate said. ''All the island kids back in Fiji, we don't do speed training or any of that. We just play touch football every day, except Sundays, and we're all the same. We're all fast. When I was in high school at Woy Woy, about year 10 when I was sixteen, I remember I ran 10.82 for a hundred metres. I was pretty young and only about 80 kilograms. I don't know what I'd do now. Under 11 seconds, I suppose. I just love to run.''
 

Golden

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if we hold Uate to 0 trys tonight I told everybody I will buy them a drink
 

Tiger_Watto

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This Battle will be a bueaty!

Both will possibly determine the score for both teams, and I have a feeling Mr Tuqiri will be primed for a big one considering his ommission from the Queensland SOO Team…

Lote by 2
 

Golden

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I can just imagine how many bombs are going up to him… thank god Fitzy isnt marking him.. having said that look for Cooper Vuna to score a few fluke trys from Fitzy standing there like a statue hopefully the attention will go to the other side
 

Andrew

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Jul 12, 2009
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@triserratops said:
I worship Lote too!

Have a temple in the backyard with 12 mops turned upsidedown!!!

It has been a long time since I have read something on here that has made me literally snort…the snort timer is back at zero!

Thats gold mate! :smiley:
 

crouching_tiger

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@Golden said:
if we hold Uate to 0 trys tonight I told everybody I will buy them a drink

Knights 6

Tries
Ben Rogers

Goals Conversions
Wes Naiqama

I will have a Tiger beer thanks!! :laughing:

**I can just imagine how many bombs are going up to him… thank god Fitzy isnt marking him.. having said that look for Cooper Vuna to score a few fluke trys from Fitzy standing there like a statue hopefully the attention will go to the other side**

BTW...you can tell me all about how Fitzy was great at the back diffusing all those bombs playing out of position.. :sunglasses:
 

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