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Fonua not here to make up numbers

The last thing players want is to give their coach a headache but Wests Tigers winger Mahe Fonua has been happy to do that and is now reaping the rewards with his NRL recall.

The Melbourne junior played 50 NRL games for the Storm from 2012-15 before venturing off to dominate in the English Super League for Hull F.C, capturing two Challenge Cup titles.

Signed in the off-season by the Tigers on a two-year deal, Fonua spent the first seven rounds in the club's Intrust Super Premiership side before getting the call to start on the wing in Sunday's 24-22 loss to Parramatta.

''When you play reserve grade you try and make as much noise as you can to give the head coach a headache when selecting the team,'' the 25-year-old said.

''It took me eight games to get into grade and I was every happy to get the opportunity. It was good to finally get a run with this team and this club seeing it's my first year here.

''It's been a while since I played NRL and it was good to brush some cobwebs off and get back into the swing of things.

Tigers winger Mahe Fonua.
Tigers winger Mahe Fonua. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

''Unfortunately it wasn't the result we wanted but [I was] just happy to get that call up. Hopefully this week we can right some wrongs and give the Warriors a big test over in New Zealand.''

Fonua believes his three-year stint with Hull F.C allowed him to develop his game and return to Australia with more to offer as a player.

The Tigers were happy to provide him with an opportunity to get back into the NRL.

''I moved over when I was only 22 and still fairly young, so getting the chance to play top league over there gives you confidence playing week in week out, and just that little bit more experience [playing in] the Challenge Cup game," Fonua said.

''Coming back here I felt like I had that in my artillery to bring back to Wests Tigers and I was hoping I could show the coach what I had to offer.''

Tigers coach Ivan Cleary says he was happy with the outside backs' effort on Sunday despite the loss and is pleased to have players like Fonua who are determined to be selected in first grade.

''I thought he had a pretty good impact, he was pretty strong throughout the game," Cleary said.

''It's good to have guys that are hungry [to play NRL] and I think Mahe is one of those.''

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