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Samuela finding his focus at the Tigers

26 Jun 24, 10:52AM 0 Comments

Written by Stuart McLennan

Almost 12 months ago NSW under 19s captain Samuela Fainu was involved in a series of heated on and off field clashes that were reportedly provoked by comments made from an opposition player in the Origin match. It came just days after Wests Tigers announced the signing of Samuela and his brother Latu on big money deals from Manly.

The 194cm and 109kg forward followed his indiscretions up with a careless high tackle charge in week 1 of the pre-season trials that brought him a $1000 fine. Long suffering Tigers fans were already thinking the club had recruited another talented but ill-disciplined player who opposition teams would target and provoke.

Roll on to Round 16 and Fainu has been one of the best for the second week in a row in victories over the Titans and the Raiders. There have been no signs of the ill-discipline shown earlier in the year. He has added to his strong running and tough defence coming off the bench with clever offloads and a deft kicking game. It is rare in players of his physical stature. The freedom to try different things during a match fits with his coach Benji Marshall’s mantra of backing yourself which has also seen 18 year old Lachlan Galvin blossoming in the NRL.

It appears the coach or one of his Wests Tigers assistants has had a word inSamuela’s ear to tell him if he cuts the rubbish out of his game he will be a very good player. With John Bateman and Isaiah Papali’i to return from injury Marshall will have to think long and hard about returning him to the bench given his very good form in the starting 13.

The 20 year old, with 18 NRL appearances, (13 at Wests Tigers), under his belt is almost one of the senior players with Galvin (18), Luke Laulilii (18), Heath Mason (19), and Kit Laulilii appearing in recent weeks.

The Guilford Owls junior is joined by his brothers Sione and Latu at Concord. Sione (22) has made the most of his opportunities that have come about with the Wests Tigers injury crisis, scoring his first NRL try in his fourth appearance against the Raiders. Latu (19) has been restricted to four matches this season due to ongoing hamstring issues but his talent is not questioned.

Marshall and the Wests Tigers are giving us a glimpse of what the team could achieve in the future and a fully focussed Samuela Fainu and his band of young guns from Sydney’s west will be at the forefront when the good times roll.

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