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Round 16 - Player to Watch

Young Tonumaipea says he had a simple goal when joining the Titans on a trial and train contract.

“All I wanted was an opportunity to pull on the Titans jersey and to show that I’m still capable of playing NRL,” Tonumaipea said.

The 27-year-old had spent two years out of the game, having left the Melbourne Storm to spend two-years on a Mormon mission.

Come Round Four, Tonumaipea had forced his way into Justin Holbrook’s side that defeated the Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium.

Just two games later though, his comeback had come to a cruel halt with a knee injury forcing him to have an extended stint on the sidelines.

“I did my MCL,” Tonumaipea said.

Now back in the squad again, he says the knee has recovered and he is ready to fire over the last few rounds of the season.

“It (knee) hasn’t caused any problems, it is probably just the lungs getting back to (match fitness) at the moment.

“I was starting to find my feet again after being away for a couple of years, but injuries come with the game and I’ve worked hard to come back as soon as I could.

“I’ve had a couple of chances now and all I’m doing is trying my best to perform for the team and for myself individually not just this year but next year.”

After making his comeback to the Titans 17 on the wing, Tonumaipea was quickly moved back to his preferred centre position – but he says he doesn’t mind where he is picked.

“My ideal spot would be in the 17 wherever the coach puts me,” he laughs.

“As you can see, our team is a pretty young team and he wants us to back our skill, back ourselves when we go into games and no matter what team we are against he wants us to play our best and to the best of our ability.

“That’s what has been awesome here with Justin.”

While keen to build his individual form, Tonumaipea says the performance of the squad is also front of mind.

“We haven’t been too far off with our performances,” he said.

“There has just been certain parts of the game where we’ve been off but the way the team is going, we are training really well, there are just some parts of the game we’ve got to fix.”