The 2016/2017 year will mark the official transition of one of Queensland Tonga’s favourite sons from its playing ranks and officially welcome him into its coaching ranks, as the QTRU program continues its work to rebuild the program with the announcement of Samiuela Satui, as its new open men’s head coach.
In a bitter sweet moment, the former Queensland Red, Ikale Tahi representative and one of Queensland Tonga’s greatest servants known for his crafty and creative work in his favourite number 15 jersey, has handed in his boots and swapped it for the whistle after officially being handed the reins as the head coach of the Digicel Queensland Tonga open men’s team.
Satui’s prominent leadership status in the Tongan community both on and off the field is unquestionable and his wealth of experience particularly as a player at top line and professional outfits and environments, make him the best candidate for the job to usher in the next wave of male talent from the Queensland Tongan community.
Satui’s appointment will complete a slight restructuring from the 2015 year, as former head coach Mosa Afu takes up an assistant role as this year’s new set piece coach to continue his development as a coach.
Furthermore, and to provide additional coaching support, Visesio Kite has also been named as an assistant coach, taking up a role as Satui’s official coaching technical advisor.
Kite’s experience will prove valuable to both Satui and Afu, having acquired experience at Premier and A Grade level, more recently having a major role in the resurgence of the Norths Rugby Union premier grade squad which is enjoying its most successful year in almost 10 years after leaving great success at his previous post with the GPS A Grade team.
In other news, Tevita Sentuli Peu will also retain his position as the overall head of the Queensland Tonga Strength and Conditioning department. Peu’s department receiving a massive boost this year after securing an important partnership with the “G1ANTS” organisation via the Kingston PCYC which will open up opportunities for all Queensland Tonga players to have access to facilities like an indoor gymnasium, weights room and cross fit apparatus, and an indoor pool, to complement the normal things completed on the rugby field to prepare the players, and keep them fresh and keen when the Queensland Tonga squads are named and assemble after the Tupi Cup.
The women’s program will again be headed by Felila Fangaloka and will keep alive the strong relationship the QTRU program have with the Fangaloka family, with daughters Vetekina and Eseta among the cornerstones of the program alongside players like Mele Akuila who continue the struggle to keep Tongan females active and prominent in the sport of rugby union.
Lastly, the budding Mustang 7’s program which is going from strength to strength, will again be run by former Ikale Tahi 15’s and 7’s International Siosiua Afu. After a great initial run in the role in 2015 when the team did not fail to qualify for finals in any of the competitions they entered last year, it is hoped that with the return and support of player-co-coach, 7’s stalwart Somi Pulu will allow the program to continue its rapid rise in the community and will allow for it to begin seeking interstate and off shore challenges.
The Queensland Tongan Rugby Union is delighted at having confirmed it’s back of house on the field team and know all appointees will all give their best to continue the valuable work of the program to develop and foster talented Tongans playing rugby, living in Queensland. Congratulations to all those named on their successful appointments.
By James Kite