Wests’ Tigers Josh Aloiai praises God’s grace and hard work for fantastic first season
Eliza Barr, Liverpool Leader
February 13, 2017 12:00am
GRACE and hard work is the recipe to Wests’ Tigers star Josh Aloiai’s success.
The backrower is the only player in Wests’ Tigers history to play every single match in his debut NRL season, which was last year.
At the conclusion of a tough training session in almost 40-degree temperatures at Concord Oval, Aloiai still believes he is lucky.
“I never take days like this for granted,” Aloiai said.
“If it wasn’t for my relationship with Jesus I wouldn’t be here, it’s only by his grace — grace and hard work.”
Aloiai started playing rugby league when he was just six, falling in love with the game he says they play in heaven.
“It became more serious for me when I was 14 or 15,” Aloiai said.
“A rugby league career was something I had prayed about since I was young, and God had a plan even though I had a lot of doubts.”
Aloiai moved to Liverpool from Auckland when he began his career with the Parramatta Eels, before signing with the Tigers in 2014.
“When I first moved here I was really, really homesick,” Aloiai said.
“My family lives here and were amazing in that time, helping me get settled in my home and my church.”
Understandably, Aloiai was excited to revisit his former stomping ground with the Tigers’ Auckland Nines team in New Zealand last weekend.
“I used to play at Eden Park with the Glenora Bears,” Aloiai said.
“All my immediate family is back there in Auckland, and I don’t see them that often now I’m here — I’m lucky to get back and visit.”
Aloiai scored a try against the Melbourne Storm, but the Tigers only triumphed over the Brisbane Broncos after going down to the Storm and Newcastle Knights.
The Auckland Nines is only the start of a big season for Aloiai as he seeks to build on his stellar 2016 performance.
He ran 1550m and made 426 tackles over 24 matches last year.
“I had a difficult pre-season with a broken jaw,” Aloiai said.
“Most of my goals for this season are team focused — we just want to play good footy, and it would be really special to make the eight.”
Aloiai will be with the Tigers until at least the end of 2017, striving for success alongside teammates who have also become friends.
“The boys are amazing — it’s a diverse side, lots of different cultures, personalities and senses of humour,” Aloiai said.
“I love being here with the Tigers.”
Wests Tigers kick off their season against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Friday, March 3.