Melbourne Storm snap up Gympie's latest talent
AFTER a few rounds through the rumour mill it looks like a done deal with Melbourne Storm for Gympie rugby league prodigy Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, who has been pried away from the Brisbane Broncos.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month the talented 17-year-old was on the verge of signing with Melbourne.
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Today, The Courier Mail reported Melbourne had signed "one of Queensland's most promising young forwards".
"Melbourne have continued their raid on Brisbane's playing ranks by signing one of Queensland's most promising young forwards to a $450,000 deal," it claimed - wrongly as it turns out.
A Storm spokeswoman said yesterday that while it was true Fa'asuamaleaui had been signed by Melbourne, it was to a junior development team, not the Storm NRL side as such, and not for anywhere near that amount of money.
"He has been signed, but not to the NRL squad," the spokeswoman said.
"He will be in a junior development team or program."
The following is part of the Courier Mail article:
"The Storm may have missed out on Anthony Milford but they have struck a blow at junior level by poaching boom Queensland under-18s back-rower Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
"The Gympie product was highly rated by the Broncos but the club's signing of Australian Schoolboys star Payne Haas last year opened the door for rivals to snare Fa'asuamaleaui.
"The 17-year-old was blown away by Melbourne's professionalism. The club flew him down to inspect their set up and they won the teenager over with a slick video presentation of the Storm culture built by coach Craig Bellamy.
"The Storm have secured Fa'asuamaleaui for three years and hope the junior rep star will eventually progress to their NRL squad."
Fa'asuamaleaui had been in the Broncos system for a number of years and told The Gympie Times last year that Brisbane was his favourite team.
"I am loving my time with the Broncos, they are my favourite club," Fa'asuamaleaui said at the time.
"I am just training hard with my friends and learning new things."
The details of the youngster's contract have not been officially disclosed by the club, however it is expected the flyer will play with one of the Storm's affiliate teams with a view to earn his way up the ranks.
Now a back rower, Fa'asuamaleaui played in the centres at an under-18 level, while in U16, his size and speed made him a strike weapon in the forwards.
The former Gympie Devil represented the Queensland U16 State of Origin side in 2016, as well as Wide Bay and Central Queensland.