Storm teenager Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in action last season. The Gympie teenager is widely tipped to have a breakout season. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Storm teenager Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in action last season. The Gympie teenager is widely tipped to have a breakout season. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Why the hype around Tino Fa’asuamaleaui is real

I'M tipping Storm teenager Tino Fa'asuamaleaui to explode in 2020 and show the world why he's rugby league's next million-dollar man.

As much as we have enjoyed his services for the Sunshine Coast Falcons for the past two season, I'll be shocked if he dons the yellow and black this year.

The Gympie Devils gentle giant's gametime, and minutes, were limited last year with Craig Bellamy easing him into the fray.

That'll change.

At 197cm and 115kg Fa'asuamaleaui is the prototype modern-day backrower.

Imagine stopping him close to the line running off Cam Smith or on the back of Cam Munster magic.

 

Falcons forward Tino Faasuamaleaui makes a strong charge into the defence at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Falcons forward Tino Faasuamaleaui makes a strong charge into the defence at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

 

I've no doubt he will be pressing incumbent backrowers Kenny Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi.

Followers will remember Tino's debut against the Dragons where he went inches of chalking up a try from his very first touch.

I've never met young Tino, 19, but in all the dealings I've had with former coaches and representatives from this region I've not heard a bad word.

This is his last season at the Storm before he returns to the Sunshine State with the Titans on a three-year $2 million deal.

The Gold Coast were desperate to secure him this season but Storm stuck to their guns.

The fact they were unwilling to let him go before his contract finished up speaks volumes to me about the kid's potential.

Throw in his Prime Minster's XIII and Samoan call-ups and the comparisons to Sonny Bill Williams, it seems the hype is real.

From a candid chat I had with Mal Meninga late last month I could tell how excited the Titans boss was to secure him, albeit a whole year later.

Kevvie Walters showed when he picked a teenage David Fifita for Origin, and I'm sure Tino is on his radar too.

I don't know whether it will happen this year, but Tino will don the mighty Maroon.

It's just a matter of when, not if.