Cowboys sign boom boy from Alfie’s old school
The Cowboys swooped early in 2021 to snap up an exciting teenager from Allan Langer's old school after he impressed in a one-on-one session with North Queensland giant Jason Taumalolo.
Ipswich State High School second rower Kulikefu Finefeuiaki has penned a three-year contract after attending a training camp in Townsville during December.
His signing is one of the first by an NRL club of a Queensland schoolboy in 2021, emphasising how highly the club rates the towering Finefeuiaki.
Finefeuiaki, who is a Redbank Plains Bears junior, said a 30 minute one-on-one training session with Cowboys prime mover Taumalolo was a highlight of his training camp in North Queensland.
Although the 1.92m tall rookie towered over Taumalolo, he said it was an inspiring moment.
"He did some individual stuff like line running, getting away from the ruck. It was pretty good,'' Finefeuiaki said.
Finefeuiaki is described by his Ipswich SHS coach Joshua Bretherton as "fearless'', a youngster who "plays football with absolutely everything he has got.''
"He truly enjoys the physicality of rugby league,'' Bretherton.
"On the field he brings absolute intensity and commitment.''
But Bretherton said Finefeuiaki was just as impressive off the field. "He is always smiling and galvanises the group because he is likeable''.
Unlike many schoolboys signed by NRL clubs, Finefeuiaki will enter the Cowboys system after coming through the back door.
"Kuli isn't one of these boys who has been an elite player since he was young, as he only made his first rep team in Year 10 after moving to us,'' Bretherton said.
Finefeuiaki said it was great to get his future settled before the start of the Langer Cup schoolboy competition in May, and said luring a contract offer from the Cowboys was a thank you to his family.
"I want to be successful for them because of the sacrifices they made for my football. I want to give back to them, especially mum and dad,'' he said.
Finefeuiaki said the Ipswich SHS community and staff had also played a big role in his development.
He said the culture demanded "you work hard for everything, fight for everything on the field because it is pretty competitive''.
Finefeuiaki said coming from a school which was once the home of Queensland league legend Allan Langer and also an array of current NRL squad members added to the culture of the school.
"It is good to have history and it sets a good environment for the young ones coming through,'' he said.
Originally published as Cowboys sign boom boy from Alfie's old school