I’M FIGHTING TO SAVE NRL DREAM: SULI
Suli to find his feet at Sea Eagles
MOSES Suli is struggling to spit out his words. He sounds depressed but refuses to play the mental health card that many troubled footy players fall back on.
Some genuinely, but, for others, just a poor and easy excuse.
This is the teenager who has created rugby league history and headlines by being the first player sacked by two NRL clubs in the same month. He agrees to his first interview with The Sunday
Telegraph on Friday about the embarrassment of his departure from Wests Tigers and Canterbury.
A poor, lethargic attitude and
more than 20kg overweight. It’s cost him more than $1 million in contract earnings.
“I blame myself,” Suli said. “No one else. My attitude wasn’t there.
“I’ve been lazy and lacked discipline. I had chances but blew it.” It’s a difficult interview. You try to extract the reasons why he ignored so many warnings from Ivan Cleary at the Tigers and then Dean Pay at the Bulldogs.
He’s extremely shy and has had no media training.
He replies to nearly every question with just a few words.
Obviously this is a 19-year-old who has struggled to adapt to the de- mands of sporting professionalism.
He doesn’t drink, gamble or do drugs. He has savings in the bank.
In 12 months, the quietly spoken rookie went from playing S.G. Ball footy with his mates, 80 minutes of Holden Cup, then got pitchforked straight into first grade.
Alongside and against hardened professionals. The best in the world.
He was so good, Wests Tigers threw $1.3 million at him.
Suli played 16 straight first-grade games then broke his leg.
It meant surgery and the lonely isolation of rehabilitation for months on end.
Hardly the first player who has struggled to cope on the sidelines, he gained weight and lost his direction.
Even the great Greg Inglis did last year.
In his mid-teens, Suli lost his father. He found him dead in the garage of his own home.
It’s something he doesn’t wish to discuss but at least gives you a better understanding of the difficulties and heartbreak he’s faced.
Yet he remains positive. That he will eventually get his head right.
And that he will make a comeback and fulfil his wonderful potential.
Yesterday, Suli joined his third club by signing with the Manly Sea Eagles. He has seven mates from his old school Westfields Sports High who played in Manly’s premiership-winning Holden Cup team last year.
They will car pool each day to training to make sure the wayward teen gets there on time.
Two of Suli’s old school teachers are on the Sea Eagles’ staff, too. “I won’t give up,” Suli said. “I’ll go to the gym, I’ll do some training and lose some weight.
“And when I’m ready, we’ll see what happens.
“There’s one thing I have learnt and that’s never to take anything for granted.”
Moses Suli (main) takes on the Sharks last year, and (clockwise left) with his family; posing with his mates from Manly’s 2017 Holden Cup-winning team; with Aaron Woods when he signed for the Bulldogs; as a fledgling junior; and at his father’s...