Captain honours father's memory
Last Thursday night, when Javaan Fa'amoe-Ioane was pulled to one side and asked by Southland Rams coach Greg Dawson if he would like to captain his province, the 21-year-old did not stall with his reply.
The impressive young league stand-off has been handed the captaincy reins for the Rams 2013 South Island Provincial competition and he said it was an honour he was grateful to receive.
Dawson said Fa'amoe-Ioane had showed him plenty in recent weeks to suggest he would do a good job leading the team this season, and added it had turned out to be a relatively easy appointment.
"He leads by example on the field with the way he plays and I think it's crucial we have someone like that.
"When you've got someone that does the job on the field, naturally you earn the respect of the other players," Dawson said.
"He's also got a good head on his shoulders."
Apart from the odd game standing in as captain for He Tauaa at club level, Fa'amoe-Ioane has little captaincy experience, but he is far from daunted by the assignment.
"I'm stoked. When you've got a group of guys like we have it is a privilege to be able to captain them. It's pretty cool really."
The Southland Rams will open their season against the Otago Whalers in Dunedin's indoor stadium on Saturday night.
Fa'amoe-Ioane is excited about Southland's prospects and hoped they would start in positive fashion against Otago.
"I'm real happy with the team. We've got the forward pack to get us the go-forward ball to work off and then us backs can hopefully finish it off," he said.
"Everybody is pretty sound on defence as well so hopefully we can bond as a team."
Fa'amoe-Ioane's rugby league-playing days began when he was a teenager, but rugby union took over in his later years at high school.
Early last year the sudden death of his father Tavita - a passionate Southland rugby league man - prompted him to turn his focus back to league.
He wanted to try to do what he could to help both the He Tauaa club and Southland league in general to honour his father.
"I've always played rugby, but I've also enjoyed my league since I was 15. Since Dad passed away it has motivated me more to play league and I love it now."
For Javaan, rugby league is a real family affair and you only just have to look at the makeup of the 2013 Rams setup to see the evidence.
His uncle Moses is an assistant coach, his cousin Patrick Sililoto will line up in the frontrow against Otago on Saturday night, while his younger brother Jayleel will partner him in the halves.
Just 18 months separate the two boys and Javaan admits it was pretty special to be able to run a game alongside his brother.
"There's not many people that can say they play in the halves with their brother. I think that helps us a lot that we live together and play together, it's awesome."
Saturday's night game in Dunedin will kick off at 7pm with a curtain-raiser to be played between the Southland and Otago under-15 teams at 5.30pm.
The new Rams captain said there was some excitement in the camp about playing in New Zealand's only indoor football stadium.
"I haven't even been in that stadium yet, so to play on it for the first time I'm there will be awesome."
Southland Rams Lucas Pikia, Stacey Mikara, Semi Ratu, Pua Kuresa, Javaan Fa'amoe-Ioane, Jayleel Fa'amoe Ioane, Tuki Hiko, Matthew Low, Jeremy Borland, Willie Cameron, Chee Turuwhenua, Nick Ah Kuoi, Chez Cameron, Daniel Low, Patrick Sililoto, Tihema Brown, Mike Lemalie. Otago Whalers Team to be pick prom following squad: Eddie van Aalst, Corey Blake, Dexter Buchanan, Tom Bywater, Steven Campbell-Paniona, Sam Davison, Samuel Eriepa, Alex Faulkner, Ben Garratt, Koben Katipa, Josh Kent, Manassah Kutia, Ben Mckerchar, Isaac Misky, Matt O'Neill, Corey Rigall, Tyler Schreurs, Samson Setu, Rema Smith, Kail Spooner, Dave Stiven, Jermaine Stone, Tipene Tahana, Shaun Tahau, Louis Tili, Charles Walters.
RAMS 2013 DRAW
v Otago, Saturday 7pm in Dunedin. v West Coast, Sunday September 1 in Invercargill. v Canterbury, Saturday September 14 in Christchurch. v Tasman, Saturday September 21 in Nelson. Grand Final - September 28, top qualifier vs second qualifier.
The Southland Times