Tommy Talau will become the 225th player to represent Wests Tigers after he was named to make his first-grade debut this Thursday against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
The 19-year-old has been named at centre for Wests Tigers this weekend, replacing captain Moses Mbye who has been ruled out with a hip flexor injury.
Talau is the third player to make his first-grade debut in 2019 under Coach Michael Maguire, following Thomas Mikaele (Rd.1) and Oliver Clark (Rd.9) earlier this year.
Talau is also the son of former New Zealand international centre Willie Talau, who had an illustrious rugby league career throughout his time with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (1998-2003), St. Helens (2003-08) and Salford (2009-10).
A Moorebank Rams junior, Talau joined Wests Tigers ahead of the 2019 season after starring for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs' SG Ball team in 2018.
Playing primary at five-eighth, he ended the season as the team's leading try-scorer and guided the Bulldogs to a Grand Final appearance before earning individual selection in the NSW U/18 and Australian Schoolboys squads.
Once at Wests Tigers, Talau began the year on a Development contract and playing with the club's Jersey Flegg side but was quickly promoted to the Canterbury Cup competition. Since playing for the Magpies in Round 5, Talau has averaged over 100 metres and four tackle breaks per game while also scoring four tries in nine games.
The 19-year-old was promoted to the club's full-time squad prior to the June 30 deadline and was soon included in the 21-man squad by Maguire as he drew closer to his first-grade debut — featuring as 18th Man in the past few matches before eventually earning his shot following an injury to Mbye in Round 21.
Tall and strong with great deception close to the line, Talau will feature at left centre inside Paul Momirovski, who has scored four tries in his past three matches.
PLAYER PROFILE: TOMMY TALAU
|Date of Birth||3rd April, 2000|
|Junior Club||Moorebank Rams|
|Rep. Honours||NSW U/18's (2018), Australian Schoolboys (2018)|