Where are they now: Mahe Fonua
Victorian born. Melbourne Storm made. UK Living.
Mahe Fonua has had a rugby league journey unlike anyone else.
A true local product, Fonua emerged from the Storm development program to make his NRL debut during the 2012 season.
He went on to play 50 games in the purple jersey across four seasons, scoring 24 tries.
In 2016 he ventured across to the other side of the world to join UK Super League side Hull F.C, a move that saw him link up with former Storm premiership player Sika Manu.
Fonua’s first season brought about some long-awaited silverware for the Hull fans as the team went on to win the Challenge Cup for the first time in their history with the former Storm winger scoring a try in the narrow 12-10 victory over Warrington.
On the field it was a relatively smooth adjustment for the 24-year-old, who’s game is perfectly suited to the attacking style of UK rugby league.
However he admits that the lifestyle away from the Club has taken some getting used to.
“It was a little bit tough at the start, making that transition over to the other side of the world,” Fonua said.
“Coming from a big city like Melbourne and moving to Hull, it is a very big difference. It was hard to adapt to at the start, getting used to the lifestyle.
“When you are born and raised in one city your whole life but then to come to a small town, it was a bit of a wake up call for me.”
Fonua currently lives in Hull with his wife Christine and while the couple has enjoyed their time in the UK, they have recently made the decision to return back to Australia once the current Super League season comes to an end. He will look to continue his career back in the NRL.
It has been a fantastic experience for the outside back who acknowledges just how much he owes to the Melbourne Storm during those early years of his career.
“Storm pretty much taught me everything I need to know with footy,” Fonua said.
“With the culture and the attitude that they have down in Melbourne, that is something that helped me over here, just being a bit more professional because over here you have to take more ownership in the things you do on and off the field.
“I probably would have gone a bit astray if I was at any Club other than Melbourne before coming over here. I’ve taken what I’ve learned at Melbourne and have tried to push that onto the boys I play with over here.”
Fonua continues to maintain his Storm connection, staying in contact with several players still running out in the purple jersey each and every week.
“Me and Kenny Bromwich are really close mates, we text each other at least a couple of times a week with a bit of banter and having a bit of a laugh,” Fonua said.
“I check in with how the boys are going. I played there for all my NRL career so I did make quite a lot of friends that I keep in touch with.”
Victoria is where Fonua was born and he knows that Melbourne Storm will always be home for one of our own.