As he prepares to embark on his seventh year of professional rugby with the Melbourne Rebels, Jordan Uelese reflected on his memorable journey from high-school prodigy to world class hooker, during a recent conversation with APS Sport.
After starring with the Melbourne Rising (2015 – 2019) and the Junior Wallabies (2016 – 2017), Uelese quickly established himself as one of the country's best young hookers, playing 36 games with his hometown Rebels, while also winning 15 Test Caps for the Wallabies, including representing Australia at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
But before our Northern Suburb’s prodigy thrilled the AAMI Park faithful with his brute force and relentless passion, Uelese began honing his skills at the renowned St Kevin’s College.
During this time, Uelese developed an insatiable appetite for mateship and team success, something he looks back on fondly now as a young adult.
“I played a few sports in school and I think the camaraderie you get is massive in those formative years,” said Uelese.
“Any sport you play in, you play to win, so I think the three premierships we won at St Kevin’s that coincided with the two APS Athletics Premierships we won, was really special.
“Any time you get to win a trophy and the combination of everything you worked hard for during the school year, is special.
During his time at prestigious Toorak campus, Uelese formed a tight bond with Bob Windle, who emphasised the importance of balancing sport with education.
“My first XV’s coach really taught me a lot about balancing rugby with my studies – learning’s I’ve taken with me since.”
“It was one of the biggest lessons sports taught me – you can’t put your eggs into one basket.
“If my dream of becoming a professional rugby player didn’t come to fruition, it was good to also have those habits there in terms of being able to study and earning the right to do my tuition at university.
“I still talk to him to this day, so it’s great to take that relationship into the real world.”
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