First taste for Gympie star
Rugby League: Gympie's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui celebrated his 18th birthday with a perfect Storm over the weekend.
Making his first appearance in the Melbourne Storm colours, Fa'asuamaleaui started in the second-row of the 22-man squad which played against the Warriors in Rotorua.
The young squad performed well but the experienced New Zealand Warriors were able to secure victory 20-14.
Fa'asuamaleaui made his mark with Storm officials saying the coaching staff were impressed with his efforts.
Playing alongside six Sunshine Coast Falcons teammates, Falcons coach Craig Ingebrigtsen said it was great experience for them.
"They'd get a bit of taste for (playing professionally) and would want more so hopefully they are raring to go,” he said.
"It is really good for our whole community where people want to come and play here with a chance to play for the Melbourne Storm.”
Fa'asuamaleaui lived up to expectations with ex-teammates saying there was always great things expected of the young gun.
The ex-Gympie Devil has taken to Craig Bellamay's leadership and Fa'asuamaleaui's former coach Darren Burns said his confidence would grow from this game.
"The Warriors have always been a big physical team and I guess it would have been a bit daunting for him with a few butterflies,” he said.
"He did well to get involved and was not intimidated by the other players and he will have the belief that he belongs there.”
Having seen him coming through the ranks, Burns said it was a huge achievement.
"Tino has come a long way. He still has a long way to go but he has the first game under his belt,” he said.
"He is an athlete first and foremost with his natural physique. His height and footwork together with putting on size will allow him to hold his own against the bigger players.”