Tuiaki is Mr Reliable

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Wests Tigers winger Taniela Tuiaki tops NRL linebreaking and tackle busting stats
By Steve Gee From: The Daily Telegraph July 31, 2009 7:53PM

TANIELA Tuiaki never liked pushing weights, and remarkably, gives away up to 20kg to his teammates in the benchpress and squats stakes.

Heaven knows what type of damage he'd inflict if he did.

For when it comes to pulverising defences, the Wests Tigers wrecking ball is in a class of his own.

Forget Watmough. Forget Inglis and Hayne. The gold-toothed Tongan winger has got them all covered.

Only the modest 27-year-old has to pinch himself to believe it.

"To be one behind the leading tryscorer, I can't believe it," Tuiaki said. "To see my name in the linebreaks with someone like Inglis, who breaks the line every game and is so much better than me, it's hard to believe. I'm very proud."

With seven rounds remaining, the 105kg Tongan torpedo leads the NRL in line breaks (25), tackle busts (106) and average yardage gains (133m) and sits second in tryscoring with 16 - one behind Dragons winger Brett Morris.

All the more remarkable for a man who only switched from union to league three seasons ago and still admits he's learning the trade.

With the Tigers walking the finals tightrope after yet another season plagued by inconsistency, Tuiaki has evolved into Tim Sheens' "Mr Reliable", with his bullocking runs and barge-over tries playing a major role in keeping the side in the playoffs hunt.

For Tigers fans, the sight of "big Tui" with ball in hand garners the same level of expectation as Benji Marshall.

Few runs end without at least one trampled opponent, as Dragons utility Mathew Head found out in a match last month when he was steamrolled four times in two runs by the former rugby back-rower.

Tuiaki admits he's never been much of a stepper.

"I try to sidestep, but my sidestep is just like running straight," he laughs.

"When you're my size there is only one way to go."

With the Tigers two points outside the eight, Monday night's clash with resurgent Manly shapes as a litmus test for the finals.

It also pits the NRL's most powerful back with the game's best ballrunning forward - Anthony Watmough.

The Sea Eagles enforcer trails only Tuiaki and Parramatta strike weapon Jarryd Hayne in tackle busts (94).
 

system

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"To be one behind the leading tryscorer, I can't believe it," Tuiaki said. "To see my name in the linebreaks with someone like Inglis, who breaks the line every game and is so much better than me, it's hard to believe. I'm very proud."
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Tuiaki admits he's never been much of a stepper.
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"I try to sidestep, but my sidestep is just like running straight," he laughs.
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"When you're my size there is only one way to go."

Great story & nice to read how modest he is. Let's hope the wrecking ball collects some scalps on Monday night.
 

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<big>Tui V Raiders 09 try time!!!</big>
 

G_Strombolli

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@pacey said:
he's gonna be hard to keep when he goes off contract

Going on one of the articles on Tui from earlier in the season he seems pretty keen to go back to Rugby in NZ at the end of next year.

In the meantime, good luck to him and I hope he keeps finding the try line. I love Taniela.
 
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