If you cast your eye back a few years, you will definitely remember his name and now, his involvement in rugby league is once again a key talking point – as Apollo Perelini will coach the first United Arab Emirates representative side in rugby league, the UAE Falcons Under 18’s side.
Perelini, who is a former player for St Helens, has been developing players at his own academy in Samoa, but is looking forward to this new role that he has been given.
“I have been asked to help sort out the Junior Falcons and league is a sport I know very well,” Perelini said.
“My academy is purely skills, a rugby union and league fusion of the skills the boys need to be coached. I’m looking forward to it.”
Rugby league is a relatively new sport to the UAE region, with the local competition kicking off just last week, but the hope of putting together Pokies the junior side for Sol Mokdad, the Chief of the rugby league Comission, is that this game will help put rugby league on the map alongside rugby union.
“It will be a good chance for these young players to play representative football,” Mokdad said.
“Some parents from the UK or Australia can be against rugby league, but in New Zealand people play one on a Saturday and the other on a Sunday.
“It is about breaking down that barrier with parents, showing them there is another option for their children and that it is an awesome sport. There is a clear pathway that kids can play league and still play rugby union.”
For Perelini, he says he will able to pick the junior side within a period of three months, with eight academic players ready to be chosen immediately, with the core of the side to include a contingent of players from Abu Dhabi.