Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
It was one of the great tries by a Test debutant that, sadly, wasn’t.
Samoa’s Sua Fa’alogo went close to being man of the match in a losing side against the Kangaroos on Saturday night, with his chip-and-chase effort for a four-pointer that was over-ruled by the bunker featuring extensively on the highlights reel.
Billy Slater, who has worked extensively with the 20-year-old fullback at the Storm, points to a similar effort Fa’alogo produced in the Queensland Cup against Norths in round 21.
“If you go back a few weeks before he made his NRL debut [in round 27], he played for the Sunshine Coast Falcons. Ryan Papenhuyzen was playing, and Sua was on the wing,” Slater told this masthead.
“‘Paps’ received a kick return on his own 20m, he fired the ball to Sua who then chipped and chased on the kick return and scored in the corner.
“You can talk about getting under the high ball, and try-saving tackles where he gets his body in a good technical position, but that raw ability and natural gift he’s been given, that’s the exciting part.
Billy Slater is a fan of Sua Fa’alogo.Credit: Getty
“He’s a little bit like [Broncos and Queensland star] Reece Walsh, where they’re easy to watch in terms of their raw ability.”
Fa’alogo defused every high ball and troubled Australia with his electric footwork. The youngest of 12 children, he arrived in Melbourne from Samoa when he was nine and always looked up to Slater when coming through the Victorian system.
So what was he thinking when he received a pass from Stephen Crichton, then went all the way for the try that wasn’t in Townsville?
“It was crazy when the ball bounced up for me,” Fa’alogo said on Tuesday night. “That was one of my highlights. It was just great to run out and represent my country and play alongside guys like Stephen Crichton.”
Sua Fa’alogo touches down against the Kangaroos for what would have been a fabulous try.Credit: Nine
Fa’alogo’s hopes of earning the No.1 jersey at Melbourne will need to wait because of Ryan Papenhuyzen and Nick Meaney, while towering teammates Will Warbrick and Xavier Coates are the starting wingers.
Slater, however, said he would love to see Fa’alogo given a chance in the No.14 role in round one next season. He still has a lot to learn, Slater said, but the speedster had worked hard to deserve his chance.
“That’s the big question for the Melbourne Storm now, how do they include this young star, how do they help him develop, and where does he fit in the team,” Slater said.
“I could certainly see him play as a No.14. He has a ton of courage, he’s a tough kid, so I’m sure if he applied himself in terms of the defensive side of the game in the middle of the field, he could handle that No.14 role.
“And it would be exciting bringing him on before half-time out of dummy-half. He’s got so much growth, but he’s ready for the opportunities.”
Fa’alogo will again start in the No.1 against New Zealand on Saturday night at Eden Park, with Storm playmaker Jahrome Hughes and Parramatta’s Dylan Brown the starting halves for the hosts, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad the Kiwis’ fullback and Joey Manu in the centres.
The Kangaroos have the week off and will enter camp in Albury next week before hosting New Zealand in Melbourne.
Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article