Alofa Alofa ready to shine in Super Rugby
February 8, 2014
The Samoan translation of Alofa Alofa tells you everything you need to know about the Waratahs' best-kept secret. 'The Warrior who Loves'.
Alofa, a former Sydney Roosters prospect and son of two Christian Ministers, has become the life of the Waratahs dressing room since accepting a rookie contract, and is now in-line for a Super Rugby debut.
The dazzling winger is the joker in the pack when he leads post-training card games, but an example of determination and persistence when he crosses the white line.
Alofa's footwork might be the trait that catches the eye, but he's put himself on coach Michael Cheika's radar by proving he has the ticker to get up off the canvas when the chips are down. "I want to get in that first XV. It's hard (competition) but ... it makes me go harder," said Alofa.
The 22-year-old showcased his substance in the Waratahs' 33-12 trial win over Auckland on Friday night, when he was tackled midway through setting up an attacking raid, only to get back in position to finish off the try two passes later.
Modest enough to accept his dream of cracking it in the NRL had "failed", Alofa didn't concede defeat, instead searching for a different avenue - and making the most of it by scoring 13 tries for West Harbour in last year's Shute Shield. His one-year rookie deal at the 'Tahs, like his try against the Blues, is reward for Alofa personifying the attitude NSW are desperate to capture.
"(Coach) Michael Cheika has been wanting us to work really hard off the ball. If you pass the ball you can't just lay there and hope the boys will score," said Alofa. "You have to get up and keep moving. That's a key thing for our team. What else can I do? I just finish, I am a winger, that's my job."
Alofa started off the bench in Friday's trial, but in his 40 minutes on the field he proved he was capable of pushing the likes of Peter Betham, Cam Crawford and Matt Carraro for a spot in the 22 come round one.
He was at one stage touted as Anthony Minichiello's potential heir at the Roosters. But when Minichiello played on and young gun Roger Tuivasa-Sheck arrived on the scene in 2012, Alofa realised it was time for a move. Now, after outpointing a more famous league convert in Benji Marshall on Friday - Alofa has a brand new chance to play with the stars not behind them.
"It was awesome (on Friday), getting to play alongside Izzy (Israel Folau) and guys like Kurtley (Beale) and Bernard Foley," he said. "Rugby has been something I love doing. The only reason I went to league was they gave me an opportunity. I tried and I didn't succeed.
"I had guys like Minichiello (in front of me). I thought he was going to retire but he didn't!
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