Having regained his mental mojo after a “nightmare” year with injury, Lote Tuqiri is hoping to finalise his future over the next fortnight.
Nearing the end of a three-year deal at Wests Tigers, the dual international has drawn enough hunger to play on after surviving a cursed 12 months that featured a broken arm, staph infection, ankle syndesmosis, quad strain and wrist reconstruction.
And Tuqiri, who will turn 33 in September, has a genetic wildcard in his favour, with Tigers officials mindful that Fijian-blooded athletes tend to defy Father Time.
Whether that faith extends to a new deal remains to be seen, with the club’s 2013 roster filling fast after the recruitment of Braith Anasta, Eddie Pettybourne and Bodene Thompson.
But having guided Fijian evergreens Noa Nadruku (Canberra Raiders and North Queensland Cowboys) and Petero Civoniceva (Australia), Tigers coach Tim Sheens has an appreciation of Tuqiri’s potential longevity.
“The Fijian blood tends to go pretty good, so I’m thankful to my parents for that,” Tuqiri laughed. “As long as I can keep my body in good shape and do everything right off the field I can hopefully still play for a few more years.”
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