Joe Vuna is one of the feel-good stories of 2021.
The 23-year old made his NRL debut with the New Zealand Warriors in 2018. He played four games that season, before putting his NRL career on hold to follow his faith.
After two years on a Mormon mission, Vuna returned to the Titans. The backrower arrived on a train and trial contract with no guarantee of NRL action.
Joe Vuna - Building Titans
After starting the pre-season strongly, injury set back his hopes of an NRL return.
The determined forward joined the Tweed Seagulls and continued to work on his game with the Titans affiliate.
Showing what he could do through the opening rounds of the Intrust Super Cup competition, he was back in the frame for NRL selection.
With the Titans missing Origin stars Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, David Fifita and Moeaki Fotuaika an opportunity presented for Vuna.
In round 13 against the Melbourne Storm, he made his NRL return almost three years after he last played in the competition.
Coming off the interchange bench, Vuna made an impact against the Storm and gained another game the following week against the Sydney Roosters.
Despite only playing the two games in 2021, Vuna has impressed with his work ethic and determination.
He will join the Titans top squad in 2022 and after another full pre-season will be a player to watch as he looks to add to his six career games next season.