The Queensland Tongan Rugby Union has made a bold stride towards the future of it’s women’s rugby program by officially installing talented Goodna youngster Vetekina Fangaloka as it’s captain for the 2014/2015 season.
Fangaloka’s reign as leader of the Queensland Tonga program will be assisted by Mele Akuila, Melefatai Pani and Asako Ono who form the team’s leadership group and provide her with extra support to ensure the entire group is heading in the right direction. Fangaloka will also receive the mentorship of decorated Queensland Tongan Wallaroos representative Caroline Vakalahi, to give her the best tools to excel as the go to person for our Queensland Tongan women’s program and allow her to blossom in her new role.
Aside from the obvious look to the future and despite her age, Queensland Tongan women’s coach Motekiai Kite pointed to Fangaloka’s obvious natural leadership ability as one of the main reasons for her induction as captain.
“Vetekina epitomises the attitude we are looking for in the team, her commitment, work ethic and maturity beyond her years definitely appealed during the selection process and were the attributes that ultimately determined that she was the best person for the role for the year and hopefully for years to come.”
“The leadership experience she has at club and the assistance she provides her parents with the extensive community work they are involved in also makes her a well rounded and endearing choice as to the type of role model we are looking to promote in the community for our women to follow.”
Proudly of both Samoan and Tongan heritage, Fangaloka promotes what is great about both cultures, proudly acknowledging both sides of her cultural backgrounds and actively taking time to learn and experience both her parents cultural roots. After representing their mother’s Samoan side for Queensland Samoa, both the Fangaloka sisters switched over to Queensland Tonga in 2013 for the Inaugural Monimonu Cup to experience and learn about their father’s Tongan ancestry, and since the switch both the sisters have become integral cogs in the women’s Queensland Tonga program.
Shocked and surprised at her promotion into the head position of the women’s program, Fangaloka was typically humble about her instalment.
“I was’nt expecting this at all, I came along with my sister Eseta to work hard and try our best to help Queensland Tonga Rugby and this has definitely come as a shock but this is a role I’m tremendously grateful to receive.”
Speaking of her role, whilst still acknowledging that this is still very much part of her ongoing rugby education, Fangaloka hoped to bring values centred around not taking short cuts, positivity and open communication in her time wearing the captain’s armband.
When asked about her biggest influences, Fangaloka cited her family as the impetus for her ongoing affection to the game. On the field Fangaloka cited younger sister Eseta as a constant source of inspiration, whilst off the field the elder Fangaloka sister could never forget the role both her parents have played in her development both as a person and as player.
“Playing alongside my sister definitely pushes me to be better on the field. Looking at what she is able to do despite her size and age brings out the best in me. But my biggest influences definitely have to be my parents Sam and Felila Fangaloka, who introduced me to this game and is where I learnt to love rugby.”
With a captain with such strong cultural, community, team, and family values, it seems that Fangaloka’s instalment as captain doesn’t appear to be as bold as first thought and perhaps is the most obvious and logical choice proving that the old adage certainly rings true, that if your good enough, your certainly old enough and Fangaloka is certainly good enough and ready to lead.
(Inset: Vetekina Fangaloka, 2014/2015 Queensland Tongan Women’s captain takes a quick pic before training.)