Queensland Maroons prop Mo Fotuaika had to leave his ‘babymoon’ early to prepare for the upcoming State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium. Fotuaika, who has made four Origin appearances for Queensland since 2020, was enjoying time away with his pregnant partner, Vanessa Cox, during the Titans bye week when Maroons coach Billy Slater called him up.
Slater informed Fotuaika that he was required to join the Maroons camp to prepare for Origin II, which left the couple hurriedly packing their bags to leave Byron Bay. Despite the abrupt end to his vacation, Fotuaika said he was excited to be with the Maroons again and ready to play.
After a consistent season with the Titans, Fotuaika received a call-up to the Maroons squad ahead of Canberra Raiders player, Corey Horsburgh. The 22-year-old said his inclusion comes after setting an internal goal to improve his game and prove to himself that he can play better. Fotuaika’s selection into the team also reflects his devotion to his family, who have supported him throughout his career.
Fotuaika had a turbulent past with the loss of his elder brother Mosese to suicide in 2013. He said that his brother’s passing gave him the drive to fulfill his brother’s NRL dream and earn a place in the league, as well as make his family proud.
Coming off the bench in Origin II, Fotuaika plans to bring energy to his runs and emulate the work of past Origin greats such as Shane Webcke and Petero Civoniceva. Although he acknowledges that he will still be nervous once he hits the field, Fotuaika is excited to play with the Maroon’s team again and do his best for the state.