Kaufusi honoured to play in Smith testimonial
Felise Kaufusi is a long way from retiring but when he does, he knows that Friday night will be one he will look back on with his trademark smile.
Kaufusi, along with his Storm teammates, are preparing to play in the Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston testimonial game at Suncorp Stadium.
‘A night with Cam & JT’ will be an occasion for rugby league fans to come along and give thanks to the arguably the two greatest players of the modern era.
It will also be the first time Melbourne Storm and North Queensland will lock horns the 2017 NRL Grand Final.
The marquee event is set to be a celebration of Smith and Thurston as well as a contest littered with stars on both sides of the field.
“It is pretty special to be honest, they are two of the greatest players in this current era,” Kaufusi said.
“I’ve got to pinch myself and be pretty grateful that when I get older I can tell my kids that I played in this game… they are two really great players that everybody loves.
“Knowing how Cameron and JT are, they are pretty competitive, and I think we will be going in to do our best to get the win for him.”
Kaufusi’s career has been influenced by both champions.
Prior to joining Melbourne, the Bundaberg product spent his early years with the Cowboys in their under-20s program.
There are fewer better places to be as a youngster than sharing the locker room with a professional such as Thurston.
“Obviously he was one of the players I did look up to, just the time of player he is and the role model he was for guys coming through,” Kaufusi said.
“He is just one of those special players, like Cameron, that has an impact on players.”
Then in 2015 Kaufusi joined Melbourne and found himself alongside the greatest captain to ever play the game.
“(Cameron) has been massive, not just for me but for all the aspiring front rowers and second rowers,” Smith said.
“There are just some little things that he does which help us in a big way, but I don’t think other people acknowledge that as much as we do.
“I am sure it is going to be a good game and hopefully we will put in a good performance for them.”