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Tonga tour latest task on the list for Titans forward Fotuaika

Moeaki Fotuaika had a season to remember on the field this year, but after being selected in the Tongan side to tour England, he’s got a few more items to cross off his list before he packs the boots away for a post-season break.

As well as earning a recall to the Queensland State of Origin team this season, Fotuaika was also crowned the Gold Coast’s player of the year, taking home the Paul Broughton Medal for the second time and signed a three-year extension with the club, with latest representative call-up holding a lot of meaning for the Titans powerhouse.

“It definitely means a lot to me; it means that I get to represent my family and all the people of Tonga and I just can't wait to get back out there and be the UK to play against the Englishman,” Fotuaika said before his team’s arrival in England this week.

“We know it's going to be a tough (tour), but from the last few days of camp, it's been really good and all the boys look pretty fit, so I am keen to get back out there.

“It definitely feels good to be with the squad; the first day we came in, Woolfy (coach Kristian Woolf), he spoke of the importance of it and the importance of performing well, being that it's the first time a Pacific Island team has been over (for a three-Test tour).

“The main thing for us is about preparing well and I'm sure if we can prepare throughout the week, we can put in a good performance (in our first game).”

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Fotuaika – who also recently became a dad – was part of the Tonga squad that took part in the Rugby League World Cup last year, where by his own admission, the side underperformed against their own expectations. For this year, the side will need to put in a strong effort against an England side, who like Tonga, will be wanting to improve on their last international result in front of their home crowd.

“We spoke about that as well when we first came into camp,” Fotuaika said of bettering their showing in England last year.

“We didn't go over there and do what we expected to do as a team and I think with what happened last year, we’ve got a chip on our shoulder to perform.

“We're pretty keen to go out there and prove to ourselves and the Tonga fans that we weren't at our best last year.”

Moe Fotuaika at Tonga training.
Moe Fotuaika at Tonga training. ©Rowan Clark / Dolphins

Part of an impressive forward pack that includes the likes of enforcer Addin Fonua-Blake, the experienced Felise Kaufusi and rising talent Keaon Koloamatangi, Fotuaika knew the squad would be expecting them to set the foundations and was looking forward to playing alongside some of the more in-form players in the NRL.

“I'm definitely excited (to be playing with them); they're one of the best in their positions and I'm excited to play alongside them,” Fotuaika said.

“Just being in camp and being alongside them and seeing how they prepare and seeing how they train is something I can take out of that and out of my own game.”

As well as focusing on their on-field results, Fotuaika was also keen to soak up the experience and wanted to see the debutants make their most of their opportunity to be part of a history-making tour.

“The main thing is to bring a lot of jumpers and some warm clothes,” Fotuaika laughed when asked about what advice he had given the young players.

“(But I would say) just enjoy the experience because last year, we had six weeks, but this time is only three weeks and it goes by quick.

"Probably I'd say just take in everything and just soak it all up and just enjoy it because it's over pretty quick.”

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.