By Wayne Cousins
2/06/2010 4:12:03 PM

To most of his Wests Tigers team-mates, Tuesday’s agility session under High Performance Manager Steve Folkes may have been normal routine but not for Tame Tupou.

There he was, sprinting, stretching out on a wet field in overcast conditions.

Suddenly, the grey skies surrounding his return to the playing field were dissolving in amongst the clouds. There was a ray of sunshine on both fronts.

The drill was the second time Tame had taken to Concord Oval with the majority of the NRL squad ready to run after almost recovering from a right knee injury.

Tame's first session came on Monday. He was like a big kid in a lolly shop.

“It is the first time I have been outside doing full contact and training,’’ Tame said, as he enjoyed a small bowl of pumpkin soup for lunch afterwards.

“It felt good to be running again. Felt a bit weird in that I haven’t had to think about my knee for the first time. Now I can run with the team and think about doing drills and ball work.”

Standing not too far away from Tame was his ‘bro’ and partner in the comedy stakes in Taniela Tuiaki.

The pair are close, very close. They bounce off each other like all true comedy acts…think Abbott and Costello, Gibbs and Fulton.

“We knew each other before I came here. I suppose we have the same personality. We have the same, weird sense of humour,’’ Tame joked.

“The only difference is Taniela is ugly and I’m pretty.”

It was at this point Taniela struck with a black texta, finishing off an ‘x mark on this author’s head - the original artwork started by another serial pest in prop Keith Galloway.

It’s not the first and it won’t be the last practical joke. One can only laugh with them. Their spirit is infectious.

“Stop talking footy,’’ Taniela shouts as the interview rolls on.

The focus turns to Taniela and the ankle injury that has kept him sidelined since round 21 last year.

“Nah man, I don’t wan’t to talk about that”,’’ Taniela offers as he walks off.

Back to Tame, then. As he finishes his soup, soft music is playing on his

“Bryan Ferry….Avalon..I love this song, man,’’ he says.

“I also like Celine Dion, Cat Stevens, Jon Bon Jovi and Eazy-E.”

Not far away from where Tame is sitting lies the small room of Wests Tigers Rehabilitation Manager Andrew Leeds - the club’s head physio man, all round nice guy, and the man who has spent endless hours working on Tame and Tuiaki.

“They are very likeable characters...entertaining,’’ Leeds offered.

“Sometimes you don’t know if they are joking or not. They like setting people up, to make them look silly.

“Considering their injuries and the length of time they have been out, it is easy to fall into a type of depression. But I guess you always have got to look on the bright side of life.

“I’m sure they do have their times when they are not so happy. You can tell. And they have had them.

“Tame and Taniela seem to bounce out of it. They work hard when they have to and they joke around when the opportunity is right.”

With Tame returning to the training paddock, a start in the NSW Cup awaits with one of the club’s feeder sides in Balmain Ryde Eastwood or Western Suburbs Magpies.

So too does a move from the wing to the forwards.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the forwards,’’ Tame confessed.

Playing in the forwards is new territory for the man who scored 15 tries in 25 games for the Brisbane Broncos between 2004-06.

Ten tries in 20 matches followed for the Bradford Bulls in the English Super League from 2007-08\. In between, there were four Tests for New Zealand.

In April last year, Bradford ended its association with Tame after a lengthy stint on the sidelines following the knee reconstruction. Wests
Tigers stepped in and from July, a new life of rehab began at Camp Concord.

“ I didn’t think it would take that long when I first arrived here,’’ Tame confessed.

“ I had plans to be back before the end of last season. It is just the way it goes I guess.

“I’ve coped okay. It is just an injury. It’s not like I’ve lost one of my limbs. A lot of other people have got it worse off than me.

“I’m just happy to be alive doing what I do. You have got to have a positive attitude. I just appreciate every day. Just got to be thankful.”

Tame then walks off with Taniela, the sounds of Avalon now a distant memory. Perhaps another of Bryan Ferry’s biggest hits, ‘Let’s Stick Together’ should be their song.

They share another joke and a laugh...the ‘Tame and Taniela Show’ rolls on!


New member
Aug 3, 2009
He could be the new fitzy, would have to cover more positions than him,… anywhere in the forwards plus can go from 2-5... would be pretty good to see him in FG with TnT. Gentle giant until he gets on the field :wink:


New member
Jul 13, 2009
Haha.. not sure if we can have a prop listening to celine dion though… c'mon!


New member
Jul 10, 2009
@Tiger_Al said:
Haha.. not sure if we can have a prop listening to celine dion though… c'mon!

I think they should all listen to it… SHOULD get them angry as!!!