Master coach’s simple advice for heavy-hitting Tino
Simple advice and powerful legends are driving Storm's heavy-hitting Tino Fa'asuamaleaui as he navigates his way through his biggest NRL season to date.
The 20-year-old former Sunshine Coast Falcon only debuted and played five games for Melbourne last year but will run out against Manly this Sunday at Sunshine Coast Stadium as the only player to have laced-up in every game this year for Storm.
He's made the most of the game time, scoring four tries, averaging 129 running metres and nailing a total of 349 tackles.
He's grown to be a key talent, only playing less than 40 minutes once since Round 6.
The youngster, who has 16 caps for the Falcons, said he wasn't fazed with how he's used, just happy to be lacing up each week.
"I love starting, it's good fun but at the moment I'm just happy to be in the team and whatever is best for the team I'll put my best foot forward," he said.
"If it's coming off the bench or starting, that's my job and I'm just happy to be playing."
While the Gold Coast Titans-bound talent is racking up plenty of minutes, coach Craig Bellamy didn't need to say much for Fa'asuamaleaui to perform.
"Craig just tells me to get out there, it's pretty simple," Fa'asuamaleaui said.
"He just says do your job and make your tackles and be aggressive and that's all he has to say to me before games and during the week.
"As long as I'm doing that and making him happy I'll just keep doing it each week."
He said becoming a regular first grade player had plenty of new challenges.
"Just probably turning up each week (is the hardest thing) - you can't have a slack week and you have to be turning up 100 per cent each week," he said.
"Especially with a couple of short turnarounds you have to be mentally prepared for it.
"It is tough going to training after coming off a big game and that's probably the toughest thing is getting yourself mentally prepared to backup five days later or whenever and putting your best foot forward each game and leaving everything on field."
While guided by some simple advice by Bellamy, Fa'asuamaleaui said he's been working hard to emulate the efforts of some his favourite Broncos forwards in Petero Civoniceva and Gordon Tallis.
"When I was younger I always watched them fellas and always tried to instil that hard work and aggression into the game and that was what I was always trying to bring up throughout my career," he said.
"Even to this day I still try to be aggressive and have the traits they had."
The rookie received high praise from Maroons coach Kevin Walters recently and while humbled, he wasn't "thinking too far ahead" about the prospect of Origin, with plenty of work still to be done in finetuning his game.
The Storm enter their Round 16 battle with Manly at Bokarina on the back of a tough 14-0 loss to Parramatta Eels last week.
It was the first time they'd been held scoreless in six years.
Kick-off is 4.05pm.