In association with sponsors Warehouse Strength and Conditioning, Queensland Tonga Rugby is pleased to announce the following individuals who have been named in the first ever Queensland Tonga Rugby Union academy. The academy is particularly focused on assisting in the development of women in the code and being proactive about continuing to unearth the future leaders of the Queensland Tongan female program. All individuals both male and female have been identified as potential players of promise with the potential to go further if given enough of an investment into their talents.
Among the candidates who will no doubt benefit with some extra attention are the ferocious Fangaloka sisters of the Goodna Gladiators Rugby Union club Vetekina and Eseta, who have both showed immense promise whilst representing their mother’s heritage via Queensland Samoa last year and then their paternal Tongan side after deciding to swap over to represent Queensland Tonga. Another example of someone who can realize their true potential is Kayla Tukuafu from the GPS Premier Rugby Union team, with the gift of speed and a knack for absorbing information after only her second year playing rugby, the academy should accelerate her rugby education two-fold.
As part of Queensland Tonga Rugby’s further dedication to women’s rugby union overall, the group is also proud to announce the inclusion of sisters Neevah and Veta Tafito from the Queensland Samoan community. The girls have been included in the spirit of community, sisterhood and also not wanting to turn brothers and sisters away who ultimately want to improve by putting themselves forward for opportunities like this. If current training form and dedication is anything to go by, the Tafito sisters will be right at home in this type of environment after already displaying great mental fortitude when presented with adversity during some brutal early sessions this year, which brought out the best in both the quietly spoken sisters and convinced the staff at the Queensland Tonga Rugby Union to assist.
In terms of the men selected into the academy, the contingent will be led by Norths Rugby Union Premier Grade player and NRC shadow player Roberts Puliuvea who has been added to the list to ensure should he be called up for an opportunity in the NRC he will be ready to hit the ground running. On the opposite side of the spectrum, players like Kristian Satui have been added to assist with his long road back to redemption after time out of the game through injury. One of the leading prospects coming through the junior grades and then perhaps guilty of losing his way. Satui should get a lot of confidence after seeing guys like Dave Feao and Sione Kite doing what they’ve done after being in similar situations to him only a short time ago to realize it is not beyond him if he does not give up on his talents.
Queensland Tongan Rugby Co-ordinator James Kite believes the humble first step towards continuing to do its utmost for rugby players who would no doubt flourish with some exposure to high level training techniques and knowledge, is the reason this is a valuable step in the right direction to helping Tongans and Pacific people set higher standards for themselves.
“The point of this initiative, apart from trying to do as much as we can for our women, is to make Tongans and Pacific people in general understand that being proactive about their rugby destinies via the tried and true ideals of hard work, dedication and desire to improve your craft will no doubt reap the desired results. You only have to look at some of the success stories who have been through our program already, to understand sometimes all players need is a little push in the right direction, and then they have to confidence to really push on once they get back to club or representative level.”
The sessions with Warehouse Strength and Conditioning will complement the existing training with the respective Queensland Tonga Rugby Union squads the players are involved in at the moment. Congratulations to all players who have been selected.
Queensland Tonga Rugby Union Academy
Sione Na’a Helu
(One to be added)