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Joe Galuvao on his career and the next generation

30 Apr 20, 5:11PM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

For over a decade Joe Galuvao was one of the NRL’s most dominant forwards playing 240 games across five different NRL clubs in a career spanning over 15 years. He would play for Auckland, Penrith, Souths, Parramatta, and Manly.

Two years after making his debut for the Warriors, Galuvao played his first international game when he was picked to play for Samoa, something he looks back on with pride.

“It was a great honour to represent Samoa as it was a way to honour where my parents were born and all my relatives who were from there.

“Though I was born and raised in NZ you always have a connection to your own cultural heritage.

“The Toa Samoa team has stamped itself as being a force in international rugby league. It’s a reflection of the caliber of players playing in the NRL with close to 50% of players with Pasifika heritage making up its base.” Joe told Everything Rugby League.

Just a year later he would join the Penrith Panthers and form a fierce duo with Tony Puletua where the two would become known as the “Hair Bears” and turn the Panthers into a brutal attacking and defensive force.

Galuvao remembers his relationship with the Puletua brothers fondly.

“Me, Tony, and Frank Puletua had known each other before I came to the Panthers as we played rep footy together so I have always and continue to have a great relationship with them.

“Tony was obviously a great player when I came over to Penrith but our friendship was probably helped us click and contribute to the success the club had in that period.”

In 2003 he would make his New Zealand Kiwis debut and win his first premiership at the Panthers, a club he’d play 78 games at across four of the best years in his career.

“My time at Penrith was one of the most enjoyable of my career & a lot of that was due to the people who were involved from front office, coaching staff and especially players.”

After a couple of seasons at both Souths and Parramatta, he would head to Manly and won his second premiership in 2011, and played on there until his retirement in 2013.

Galuvao still watches a lot of NRL these days and is excited to see the next generation of forwards flourish in the NRL.

“There are a few forwards that stand out to me from your established players to up and coming who have big futures.

“Josh Papalii was the form forward at the back end of last year and is the benchmark for front-rowers alongside JWH from the Roosters.

“Jake Trbojevic, Cameron Murray, Jason Taumalolo to name a few continue to impress at their respective clubs.

“Payne Haas and David Fifita for me are players based on what they have done but also that they will continue to improve is an exciting thought because of what they are doing currently… great talents the both of them.”​

Since hanging up the boots, the former “Hair Bear” has joined the NRL Community program, something he is very passionate about.

“My time working in the community space at the NRL has been very rewarding and fulfilling.

“It been great to be able to still be involved in the game and combine being a youth worker & having a passion for community work to be able to make a difference.”

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