Warriors confident wing Fusitu'a a rising star
He may have only played four games, but already it's looking like the Warriors have unearthed a great young talent in wing David Fusitu'a.
The 19-year-old plays his fifth game for the National Rugby League club, against the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium tomorrow and he'll look to continue his impressive start to first-grade footy.
He scored his maiden try against the Storm a few weeks ago and last weekend bagged a pair in the 24-16 victory over the Titans.
While it may be too early to call him New Zealand's next Roger Tuivasa-Scheck, he's made every post a winner so far.
"He's done a great job so far and I'm sure he'll play many more games for the club," Warriors captain Simon Mannering said of Fusitu'a.
"He's eager to learn, got all the skills and obviously we've seen his finishing ability.
"It's a matter of him getting the experience, you definitely go through some highs and lows throughout your career and that's all part of learning.
"That will come and I'm sure he'll be better for it."
Fusitu'a, who played for the Junior Kiwis the past two years, admits his hopes for this season were to play well in the reserve grade New South Wales Cup team, which the club regard as a stepping stone from the under-20s to the NRL.
"I didn't think I'd play this many games early on this year, so I'm pretty stoked with how far I've come and I want to keep on playing," Fusitu'a said.
"I wanted to develop my game a lot more by playing in the NSW Cup against men, but I got my shot pretty early and I'm striving to keep on improving.
"I'm still really nervous, especially with it only being my fifth game this week.
"Before my first two games I was crapping myself, it was so nerve-racking.
"But I'm getting a bit more comfortable now and heaps of boys have helped me out with keeping me calm."
Fusitu'a grew up playing league, but switched to rugby at Kelston Boys' High School, where he played for their First XV. He could have gone on to have a good career in the 15-man game, but decided to follow his heart and swap codes again.
"In the seventh form I came back to league, I missed it," he said.
"The love of the game brought me back."
With the way the Knights have been underperforming this year, there's a good chance Fusitu'a could add to his try haul tomorrow. However, there are a couple of pieces of good news for the Wayne Bennett-coached side that's lost their last four games.
Firstly, Beau Scott took an early guilty plea for his tackle on Brent Tate in Wednesday's State of Origin I, so won't be suspended for this game and, secondly, Jeremy Smith is back after his knee injury.
However, the Kiwis lock hasn't had the best of times playing the Warriors in New Zealand and has only been on the winning side once.
"It's always tough going over there," Smith said.
"They are a big mob and we'll have to bring our ‘A' game to get the win.
"So we'll just have to aim up from one to 17 and certainly get into them, especially over there in New Zealand."
Smith says the Warriors have impressed him in recent weeks, especially with their resolve under new coach Andrew McFadden.
"They are starting to play well and grinding out games," he said.
"It's going to be a tough ask but we've been training well over the bye.
"I think we've just got to start winning again and start competing more than anything.
"That goes a long way in rugby league and I just think the boys are close."