A Tongan teenager is step closer to realising his dreams of playing in the Australian National Rugby League after signing a contract with the Berkeley Eagles Rugby Club.
Avondale Wombats second-row forward Palu Tausala, 18, left his home club recently after three seasons to sign with the Eagles.
Regardless of his current achievement, Tausala is grateful for his time at the Wombats, for teaching him professionalism within the sport and providing the platform to learn and improve.
“I learned rather than winning in Wombats, I had no idea about professionalism, and they polished me in their academy, which is the reason Eagles signed me,” Tausala said.
Tonga is economically a poor nation. Many fly to other countries in search for better life. Tongans began to immigrate to Australia in the 70s, primarily for work. According to Australian home affairs, about 33,000 Tongans currently lives in Australia. Many Tongans have thrived in the NRL.
Out of 24 rugby players from the Tongan National Rugby team, 21 have been NRL-contracted.
Tausala is optimistic about fulfilling his dreams and goals for the future.
“Hopefully, signing a contract with a national level team,” he said while talking about his aim of near future.
Eagles are competing in the forthcoming Illawarra Rugby tournament, so the teenager’s schedule has been hectic since signing. Even though he is new to the squad, he has already been selected in team for the tournament.
“Next couple of weeks are going to be exhausting, I need to allocate a lot of time for training and in the meantime, I cannot lose focus on my study as well,” he said.
Although his love for the game was first sparked in his early youth while watching his father play, the person who inspires him most is Jason Taumalolo, a Tongan rugby player who represents North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL.
Regarding Taumalolo, he added: “I watch his videos to get happy, whenever I am in a bad mood.”