Breaking: Gympie league product named in NRL squad
Rugby League: Gympie rugby league star Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, 17, is tipped to make his first appearance in Melbourne Storm colours on Saturday.
Storm officials confirmed today Fa'asuamaleaui has been named in the second row in Craig Bellamy's 22-man squad to take on the New Zealand Warriors in Rotorua.
After a gruelling pre-season, the former Gympie junior league player and Devil has flourished under Bellamy's guidance and while he is a junior member of the Storm squad he could firm as a genuine NRL player in 2018.
Touted as one of the nation's best young talents, the former Widgee school boy has impressed Storm coaching staff during his first stint in the senior ranks.
While Bellamy's final squad will be finalised tomorrow, Fa'asuamaleaui is in the mix to make the final cut, and if named will run out with fellow Sunshine Coast Falcons players Matt Sopa-Lawler, Chris Lewis and Jye Ballinger.
Last year, Falcons coach Craig Ingebrigtsen predicted big things for Fa'asuamaleaui, saying physically he was beyond his years.
"He's big and strong and robust,” he said.
"He has great leg speed. He's got plenty to offer.”
Fa'asuamaleaui's former coach Darren Burns said it was great news for Gympie and proved you did not need to leave your home town to make your NRL dreams a reality.
"The pathway to the NRL starts at your home club. It doesn't matter where you play, if your good enough you will make it,” he said.
"It is great for the community, he is a talented player and he has put the work in.
"The Devils will all be behind him on Saturday, especially his teammates who played with him over the years at the Devils.”