By Jack Brady
It’s a Sunday afternoon. We’re at Newcastle’s Ausgrid Stadium. After twenty minutes of game time, the call comes down from the coach’s box for the big Tongan on the bench to start warming up. The 100kg behemoth stands up and starts pacing the sideline, readying himself to launch into the action on the field.
In seasons past, this man was Richie Fa’aoso. However, this season, Fa’aoso only did this eight times for the Newcastle Knights.
The Knights apparent saviour coach Wayne Bennett, generally preferring another Tongan behemoth Willie Mason over the man in question in 2012.
While I am not bagging out Willie Mason, because let’s face it he was more than impressive this season for the Knights, it must be said that the club made a very questionable decision by releasing Fa’aoso.
Regardless, Fa’aoso, in a series of fortunate events for the man, is lining up to play in the NRL Grand Final this week for the Melbourne Storm.
Signed mid-season by the Storm, Fa’aoso managed just five games this season for the club. Yet with the season-ending injury to Storm stalwart Jason Ryles, Fa’aoso will find himself in the No. 17 come this Sunday.
In what could be called a blessing in disguise, Fa’aoso’s 99-game career for the Knights has seemingly come to an end at the right time. While many Knights fan questioned Bennett for not wanting crowd favourite Fa’aoso, I’m sure many will be cheering the charging Tongan whenever he graces the field on Sunday.
I know I will be. And who knows, the behemoth Tongan pacing the sideline after twenty minutes or so could be the game breaker that Melbourne needs to win the 2012 NRL Grand Final.