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Fuimaono aiming to help Titans fire from five-eighth

With a successful – but for her, unexpected – Rugby League World Cup campaign and an appearance in the State of Origin series under her belt, playmaker Taliah Fuimaono is one of a host of fresh faces hoping to fire for the Titans.

Those big few months of representative football came after Fuimaono overcame a broken collarbone to play in her debut NRLW season with the Dragons, where she played both the 2021 and 2022 seasons last year.

Joining with fellow Jillaroos and Blues stars Jaime Chapman and Shaylee Bent at the Gold Coast, Fuimaono said the chance to lock down the five-eighth role under the tutelage of Karyn Murphy and use her experience to help guide a relatively young spine, lured her north.

“I'm someone who is quite loyal and I don't really like changing and leaving teams necessarily, but I think positional-wise and what Sowie (Dragons coach Jamie Soward) had for me at the Dragons just wasn't going to make me a better person or a better player necessarily,” Fuimaono said.

“Murph had really been onto me for a while, especially after the Jillaroos campaign; she really saw my potential and as soon as she could talk to me and we could meet up, she was onto it and got me up there straight away and she just had a lot of respect for me and could see me being a six.

Taliah Fuimaono in Titans colours.
Taliah Fuimaono in Titans colours. ©Gold Coast Titans Media

"So I think just her having the faith in me and believing in me as a six, and definitely her background as a half as well – obviously, I'm going to get more out of her than most coaches.

“And I think as well, her being a player, you feel like she's done it as well so she's coming from a place of experience, not just words.

“That was probably the main reason why I did choose to go to the Titans in the first place. I feel like I still have so much growing to do as a six, but I know that when I do find that, when I'm in the right space and get the right coaching that I can be one of the best."

Still young at 24, Murphy said she was impressed by Fuimaono after she was elevated into Brad Donald’s World Cup squad last year.

“It’s no secret with injuries in the halves last year that it was an area we identified we needed to strengthen,” Murphy said.

“With Lauren Brown potentially moving back to nine, we saw 'Fui' as someone who could lead in the halves. She’s definitely the right fit for us and we see her as a long-term player at our club."

The future is looking bright for the Titans who recently had seven players feature in their Under 19 Queensland team including Chantay Kiria-Ratu and Sienna Lofipo who will challenge each other to partner with Fuimaono in the halfback position.

It was a disappointing campaign for the Titans last season, with Fuimaono - whose Dragons side knocked the Titans out at the semi-final stage in season 2021 - hoping she can help her new club bring home their first title.

Every try from U19s Women's Origin

“Most of our team is actually local,” Fuimaono said. “There are only a few of us that relocated … I think we're very fortunate and Murph has done a really good job to keep the Queensland girls in Queensland and on the Gold Coast.

“Hopefully that helps long-term, and hopefully we can bring Gold Coast their first ever premiership.”

The proud Blue was also looking forward to taking part in her first Queensland derby against ‘local’ rivals the Broncos in Round 2, while the Cowboys will also present a new challenge in the opening round of the competition.

“That is something we're all really looking forward to, even just playing Origin in Townsville, you can see how much passion there is in Queensland for rugby league and how much they get behind rugby league,” Fuimaono said.

“I think that Broncos derby is supposed to be a sell-out game with it being a double header with the men's as well, so I think it's going to be one experience, hopefully we can get one up on them.

“I think the Titans and Broncos are one and one now at the moment, so this could be the tiebreaker.”


Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.