Sauaso Sue out to shock the world

AJ Carr - Warrington


The sporting world loves to describe our sporting stars as heroes. A game of Rugby League often finds itself being described as a battle or a war.


That degree of hyperbole sells newspapers and gets tongues wagging, and you can certainly forgive RSL representatives their frustration with the easy use of the words.


At 6pm on Sunday night, however, a sold-out Halliwell-Jones Stadium in Warrington might have been forgiven for expecting something resembling full-scale Pacific warfare.


New Zealand's fearsome new Haka was matched by an equally intimidating Samoan Siva Tau.


If the majority of the 15 thousand strong English crowd weren't expecting blood after the war cries, they certainly were after the first, brutal set of six.


That the giant athletes of the Pacific were still throwing their bodies at one another with frightening vigour, after 80 minutes of some of the best Rugby League you could hope to see, was a testament to the courage and passion of the two sides.


It was a performance which would have been impossible without the deafening motivation ringing from the Warrington grandstands.


Six months ago Sauaso Sue was hoping for a shot at the NRL with the Wests Tigers during the 2013 campaign. A horror injury run gave him his chance earlier than he expected. He never let it go.


Now here was the young Samoan forward standing his ground, and earning his patch of territory, in one of the fiercest Rugby League clashes in recent memory.


"It was the most emotional and exciting experience of my life," said Sue.


For Pacific Islanders, representing their country is about representing their people and their family. They hold it in the highest regard.


This game though, this was something else.


After New Zealand had gone to an expected early lead, 22-0 after as many minutes, the Warrington crowd had begun to appreciate the quality of football on show rather than the closeness of the score.


That the stadium continued to ring with the sound of body on body contact meant the game continued to more than hold the crowd's attention.


Then Samoa scored just before half time. Ben Roberts' darting solo effort led Sonny Bill Williams to claim at halftime that New Zealand were hugely disappointed to concede a single try..


They'd have been devastated with what happened not long after the break.


A section of the crowd began to sing for the Toa. Samoa scored again.


By the time Samoa had scored four unanswered tries, the noise was deafening. The crowd had adopted the men in blue as their own and they had responded in kind.


The emotion within the Halliwell-Jones had produced a performance the Samoans hadn't realised they were capable of. The world champion Kiwis were left helpless under the relentless onslaught.


For Sue, the crowd had inspired something within himself and his Polynesian brothers.


"The crowd really got behind us in the last half an hour," said Sue. "That really helped us."


After a season of emotional support from Wests Tigers fans at Campbelltown Sports Stadium and Leichhardt Oval, it's something he wants more of - full houses driving the team to victory.


"That would be unbelievable!" said Sue. "It would help us win games, it would help us play at that 110%.


"Everyone is low on energy but then the atmosphere, every one cheering for you it just lifts you up and gives you something extra."


Like his Wests Tigers team mate James Tedesco who is starring for Italy, Sue is a young man who reeks of newly found confidence, just two weeks into the campaign with the Samoan squad which features a host of veteran NRL and Super League forwards.


"This will help a lot, I'll have a lot more confidence after playing international football," said Sue.


"It's really good for my future. The experience they're giving me and the tips.


"My passing game is probably the weakest part of my game right now. They've helped me a lot with that over the last two weeks.


"Playing at this level, with these guys will give me more motivation and confidence to bring back to games for Wests Tigers next year."


Despite the loss, Samoa are on a collision course with either England or Australia and if this game was anything to go by, both of the bigger sides will have to be more than on their toes.


"We need to win the next two games," said Sue. "Today, everyone just put everything on the field.


"If we improve on how we played today, we can shock the world!"


In his typical style, Sue knows that despite the highs of the World Cup, the preseason begins in earnest for Wests Tigers when he gets home and the hard work starts all over again at Concord.


"I will walk back humble, same old me," said Sue.


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