Hulking prop Pone Fa’amausili thanks his rugby league roots for the barnstorming runs which are making him a cult figure at the Melbourne Rebels.
The 23-year-old was on the highlights reel of the Rebels’ Super Rugby AU draw with Queensland last round, with some of his barrelling runs skittling the Reds.
Fa’amausili laughed off speculation by commentators that he weighed in at 145kg, saying it was more like 130kg.
Standing 196cm, either way, he’s a man mountain.
Melbourne born and bred, Fa’amausili spent time in the youth rugby league teams at the Storm, Dragons and Panthers but admitted he wasn’t ready mentally to make the step up to the NRL.
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He tagged along with a friend to trials for the Rebels’ under-20 side, putting down back-rower or lock as his preferred position.
Selectors took once look at his size and wrote down prop and before long Fa’amausili was playing for the Australian under-20s side.
He made his Super debut a year later in 2018 and hasn’t looked back.
Fa’amausili said he tried to bring some rugby league to his game, with the big hit-ups.
“I’ve always had running like that in me,” he told AAP.
“Coming from a rugby league background that wind-up from the kick-off in league is pretty normal and I miss doing those league hit-ups.”
Fa’amausili says he looks up to another Melbourne giant in Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
“We see each other around AAMI, he’s a genuine guy, he’s definitely someone I take advice from and look up to, and I love watching him play with his big carries.”
With a Samoan background, Fa’amausili has no plans to return to league, setting a goal of playing for the Wallabies.
He said a change in mindset towards training and diet this season had helped him earn more game time and a place in the Rebels starting side.
“I’ve had a dream since I joined the Rebels to play for the Wallabies,” he said.
“I pulled on that jersey as a junior with the under-20s and I’d love to do that with the Wallabies – it would be a massive achievement for me and my family.”
– Melissa Woods
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