Sua Fa’alogo, a rising NRL superstar, recently demonstrated his skill with a spectacular two-try debut for the Storm against the Broncos. However, he is unable to compete in State of Origin due to residency rule which stipulates players needs to reside in New South Wales or Queensland before their 13th birthday. This is unfortunate news for Queensland coach Billy Slater, New South Wales and rugby league fans alike.
Fa’alogo, born in Samoa, arrived in Australia when he was 13 years old. He progressed through the ranks at Melbourne’s Storm, having entered the system via Mount Ridley College. The current rules only allow an exception if the father of an NRL player has represented either the Blues or the Maroons. Since Fa’alogo’s dad was not a representative for either team, the Origin platform is closed to the promising young player.
The beneficiaries here are the Samoan national team who successfully made it to the last year’s World Cup final, despite losing 30-10 to Australia. Fa’alogo’s knack for electrifying footwork could greatly help Samoa. He might be considered for Samoa’s October series against Australia and New Zealand as he shone on his debut, tearing through the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
Fa’alogo expressed his gratitude and shared his hope of playing for Samoa, while giving credit to coach Craig Bellamy and football boss Frank Ponissi for the opportunity. Despite his humble beginnings in Samoa, he delivered remarkable stats, including posting 117 metres, five tackle busts and two line breaks, during Storm’s 32-22 win against the Broncos.
While he is off contract next season, Storm faces a tough challenge retaining three talented fullbacks, namely Nick Meaney, Ryan Papenhuyzen, and Fa’alogo, for 2025 and beyond. The Samoan ingénue has so far secured 18 tries in 27 games for feeder club Sunshine Coast and has impressed all with his display this season for the Falcons.
His mentorship comes from Papenhuyzen and Slater, the Storm fullback legend and now a consultant of the club. He is content with the mentoring saying, “Paps has been helping me a lot and Billy as well”. Fa’alogo is set to become a free agent from November 1, but he has expressed interest in remaining loyal to the Storm.
Bellamy believes that Melbourne has only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Fa’alogo’s talent adding that the young player still has much to learn but the potential is clearly visible. Expect Fa’alogo to become a regular first grader in the not too distant future.