There is only one thing that will ever outweigh the pride of the Melbourne Storm, in seeing their first ever Victorian bred player play in the NRL, and that is, premierships.
It was a late call-up for the young Victorian, with many Melbourne Storm fans pleased to see Mahe Fonua getting his chance to play in the NRL, with it being a club record for the Storm.
“I don’t know if we took out a whole bay, but it would have been close,” Fonua said.
League was not something that Fonua was heavily involved in, but it came into his life in a rather fortuitous manner – with a friend of his saying he was off to play rugby league, with Fonua asking if he could attend also.
“I asked if I could go, and he said ‘yes’. That was my first training session. I was nine,” Fonua said.
For Fonua, who spent some time playing NRL in Canberra also, he was just proud to have made his NRL debut, and knows that despite some uncharacteristic errors, there is always room for improvement – something he endeavours to do.
“That first carry, all I wanted to do was run dead-hard. I lost my concentration on carrying the ball. Then I wanted to make up for my mistake,” Fonua said.
“Then I didn’t expect the ball from Bill and dropped it again. I was down, but the boys lifted me up. I just wanted to run hard again.”
Even coach Craig Bellamy was praising the Victorian youngster, though said that Fonua can take a great lesson out of the game, and build upon it for the future.
“He was obviously nervous,” Bellamy said.
“But it was a fantastic night for the club. It’s 15 years we’ve been alive, and we’ve been waiting for a Victorian payer. Tonight it’s happened.”