‘I want a ring for them’: Tino gives his all for home town
A tiny town on the outskirts of Gympie with a population of less than 1000 people will be riding every tackle, carry and sprint made by Tino Fa'asuamaleaui on Sunday.
The Melbourne Storm sensation was raised by proud parents Fereti and Diane on a farm at Widgee, west of Gympie.
Fa'asuamaleaui will come off the bench in Sunday's NRL grand final between the Storm and Penrith Panthers with the support of an entire township.
"I have mixed emotions, I know it's my last game and I can't wait to do the boys proud," the former Sunshine Coast Falcons forward said.
"I've always dreamt of it but never thought it would.
"I am that excited.
"I want to leave on a good note."
It's his final game for the club before he joins the Gold Coast Titans on a huge deal that will bring him closer to home.
Home, particularly family, is what spurs him on the most.
"They are my world, my everything," he said.
"They have just done so much for me growing up.
"I love them so much.
"My daughter and partner are my world as well.
"Everything I do is for them.
"It would be awesome to get a ring for them and just pay tribute to everything they have done for me."
Fa'asuamaleaui said messages of support from his family and the Gympie community had been flooding in.
"I always get messages from the Devils boys, the support is amazing and motivates me to get the win for them," he said.
His mum said she too had received a lot of support.
"Everyone is calling out 'go Storm'," she said.
"All the farm boys, the factory guys are so excited that a local is doing what he is doing."
The only downside for the family on Sunday is that his parents will not be together when they watch him play.
Quarantine restrictions have forced their hand.
Fereti, who recently returned from Melbourne will remain in isolation at Surfers Paradise for Sunday's grand final while Diane and about eight relatives will watch the grand final and have a barbecue at home.
"He will have to watch it by himself, but he'll be making a lot of noise in that hotel room by himself," Mrs Fa'asuamaleaui said.