Titan Fotuaika’s M3 travels lead to NRL dream
It is little wonder Gold Coast Titans prop Moeaki Fotuaika is not afraid of hard work on the rugby league field.
Just to give himself a chance of fulfilling his dream of playing in the NRL, Fotuaika would pull the sheets back in his Marsden home long before sunrise and make it to the train station for the first train of the day between Logan and the Gold Coast on hs way to school.
From the Coast station he would then catch a bus to attend school at Keebra Park SHS, a junior league stronghold.
Then he'd do the same to get home and the process would be repeated, day after day, week after week, month after month, in cold and heat, rain or hail.
You get weary just thinking about it, but Fotuaika had commitment.
He had a work ethic as well, sometimes spending 14-hour days fruit picking with his father during school holidays.
And after he left school, he was on the public transport bandwagon again, getting himself from Logan to training at Souths Logan Magpies to be with his Mal Meninga Cup under 18 teammates.
Logan Brothers stalwart Andrew Jamieson, "a regular feature at the front door picking him up'', would often be his taxi we well.
Jamieson said Fotuaika's progression from the Logan Brothers under 16s to Souths Logan was a turning point for the young prop.
"At the end of the 16s, we had a successful year together and he was lucky in the sense there were a lot of good players in that team and they really pushed each other along a bit,'' Jamieson said.
"Ten kids went on to play in under 20s (NRL).
"Going into the Mal Meninga Cup playing for Souths Logan, I said to him this was a chance to have a crack and this is where it was going to start, to show people your real qualities.
"He played a full season and had a cracker in under 18 Mal Meninga Cup.
"He spent a couple of years there and the Titans had a look and picked him up from there.''
If you ask good NRL judges today about what they see in Fotuaika, they will tell you he has a "big motor'' which means he goes all day.
"As a footballer, he was alway a solid kid
"But what struck me was how big his engine was for a big kid,'' Jamison said.
"He had an ability to play full games
"You don't want to earmark kids too early in positions, but he was cut out for the front row.
"His motor was huge - he could just go whereas other kids around his size and ability did not have the puff in the engine
"He was a super kid like that. His engine and keenness for the game stood out.
"As he got older he developed an offload and a few other parts of his game
"He kept developing.''
Like a lot of Polynesian kids, Fotuaika was a quiet type.
If you ever speak to Logan City rugby league great and Origin star Josh Papalii, you almost have to lean your ear into his face to hear what he is saying, so softly spoken is he.
Fotuaika was a bit the same.
"The first thing that comes to mind is how soft natured he was,'' Jamieson said.
"He played as tough as anyone, but he was a real nice kid, borderline shy at times.
"He was always happy to be down training around the boys and footie. He was just a good kid.''
Jamieson said he takes pride to see another success story from Logan Brothers, a famous breeding ground of NRL players.
"I saw his first game when he debuted,'' Jamieson said.
"It was great, so good to see a kid of that quality get a chance. He deserved it because he made a lot of sacrifices and I wish him all the best from here. He could be anything he wants to be in the game.''
Originally published as Titan Fotuaika's M3 travels lead to NRL dream