Rd 23 Late Mail & Live Chat
Friday 10 August 2012 6:15 PM
History will be made tonight when Mahe Fonua becomes the first Victorian born and bred player to represent Melbourne Storm.
Having progressed through the state’s Player Development Pathway, Fonua will become the 143rd player to pull on the Storm jersey and will no doubt inspire many young Victorians to do the same in the future.
Fonua, 19, replaces Anthony Quinn in the 17-man squad to take on Gold Coast Titans, who are looking to stay in touch with the top eight. Rory Kostjasyn will also be left off the extended bench.
In 2008, Fonua moved to Canberra from Melbourne, continuing to chase his Rugby League dreams before moving back home a year later to link up with the Victorian team in the National U18 SG Ball Competition.
On the back of two seasons representing Melbourne in the NYC Cup, Fonua was promoted to the NRL squad for 2012 and became the first graduate of the Melbourne Storm Victorian Player Pathway program.
The Springvale local created waves around the NRL during pre-season after a stunning try during a Storm practice match against the Broncos in Hobart. Since then, the centre has worked hard to earn his NRL debut.
Fonua has scored four tries in six appearances during his time with the Thunderbolts in the NYC Cup this season. He has also spent plenty of time at senior NSW Cup level with the Sharks in 2012. The hard running centre pressed for first grade selection following a run of consistent performances. This included an impressive five tries in the last three rounds of NSW Cup action.
Fonua has represented Victoria at both U15 and U18 level and last year, was named in the 2011 NYC Cup Team of the Year.
Melbourne Storm also has another three Victorians playing in the club’s NYC team in Young Tonumaipea, Richie Kennar and Dane Chang who all have progressed through Storm’s development pathway.
Check out the final team sheet is below: