It’s been a year unlike any other for Melburnians and Victorian rugby as a whole.
While the COVID-19 pandemic halted Super Rugby and community sport across the state, the emergence of three young, proud and passionate Victorians, has become a memorable storyline from what has been an unprecedentedly challenging year for the game of rugby within our state.
The rise of Burn Boys’ Jordan Uelese, Pone Fa'amausili and Trevor Hosea, on to rugby’s world stage demonstrates the phenomenal impact Victorian Rugby’s development pathways is having on our community.
To celebrate our Burn Boys’ success, we’ve tracked down some key figures that have played crucial roles in shaping Trevor, Jordan and Pone’s personal and professional development, helping them become the exceptional people and strong-willed community leaders, they are today.
This week’s focus is on our hulking prop, Pone Fa’amausili, aka ‘Big Mal.’
Tetera Faulkner, NSW Waratahs – Former Melbourne Rebels teammate from 2018- 2019.
“I first met Pone a couple of years ago when I was playing for the Melbourne Rebels,” Faulkner said.
“We had just moved to Melbourne and were told there was going to be a bit of a Christmas party, so that presented a good opportunity to go meet all the players and bring all the families along.
“I walked in and my first impression was I saw this big fella in the corner – about 130 or 140 kgs at the time – and I was thinking geez, who’s this guy? A coach or maybe a player? I had no idea who he was, but a couple of the boys were like, yeah, he’s our tighthead prop for the next two years. I thought geez not only is he pretty big, but I’ll be going up against him during training, which was a little terrifying at the time!
“The size of the man just really stood out to me but once I got to know him, I found out he was pretty quiet and really humble, and a bit of a jokester, which I love about him.
“The stuff he’s doing now – his big hits and big run ups – he’s been doing that for the last two years that I’ve known him. During training he’d eye out the biggest tackler and just run straight at them. He’d run at our best players and make them look a bit silly.
“Amanaki Mafi he’d run at constantly; the Richard Hardwick’s he’d run at a fair bit and even myself - I’d try get in there but he’s such a big human and deceptively quick, so when he’s running at that pace and with the size of the man, he’s just pretty hard to stop.
“Honestly, you’d have to make him trip over you to stop him. It was just a good friendly competition we had during my time at the Rebels and he just wasn’t afraid.