How Robbo reawakened Tetevano’s NRL career
ZANE Tetevano remembers the day he saw a friendly face. For the first time in a long time, Tetevano was content. Two years after pleading guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend, he had rebuilt his life on the central coast of NSW.
He had previously sworn he would never return to the “toxic environment” of the NRL, and found his love for the game playing reserve grade in Wyong.
“That year of 2016 was one of my best years playing football, and I was working at the same time building frames and trusses,” Tetevano said.
After a July win over a Warriors team came a visit from a former coach in the dressing sheds, a man who knew Tetevano when he first arrived in Australia as an 18-year-old. Before his life hit rock bottom, Tetevano played under Trent Robinson.
“I remember I had a conversation with Robbo midway through 2016. He came up to me as we were walking into the changerooms in Wyong,” Tetevano said. “He had me when he was coach of the Newcastle under-20s team in 2008. And it was an unreal feeling seeing an old mate.”
Then came the words he thought he’d never hear again. Robinson wanted to give him a second chance. A shot at joining the Sydney Roosters NRL squad, and an opportunity to show he still had what it takes at first grade level.
“I didn’t think I wanted it. I wasn’t ready emotionally,” Tetevano said. “But to speak to him again and to have that feeling of being wanted, it was exciting and scary at the same time.
“I was extremely nervous about it.”