Wests Tigers official podcast Behind The Roar is shining a light on some of the club’s younger players over summer, as preparations continue ahead of the 2024 NRL season.
The pre-season series of BTR includes six players who are on NRL Development contracts and five who are part of the club’s top-30 roster.
Seven are yet to make their NRL debut, and all but two have played in Wests Tigers pathways teams.
This week we chat to Solomone Saukuru, a 19-year-old centre who has played the past few seasons in Wests Tigers pathways teams, and now well on the mend after post-season shoulder surgery.
He talks about the challenges he faced when entering pre-season but unable to train with the main squad, his goals and aspirations over the next 12 months and beyond, his family and his father’s influence on him as a person and a player, and how he’s enjoying training alongside the team’s most recent recruit, Justin Olam.
Solomone played at several junior clubs in different districts before carving a path for himself at Wests Tigers.
His father Joey is entering his third season as coach of Wests Magpies SG Ball team, and like most parents, he’s been a big influence on his son.
Obviously he’s just been there my whole life and I’m really grateful for what he’s done for me.Solomone Saukuru
“Ever since I started playing footy, he's just always telling me what's right and what's not right. So, I’ve learnt a lot from him, yeah.”
He’s loving life training with some of the biggest names in the game, including Justin Olam, who he says is a bit of a joker.
“It’s great training with Juzzy, he’s really funny actually, you just got to get it out of him,” said Saukuru.
“Learning off all the older boys you know, I’m just soaking it all in, and I’m loving it.”
As with all development contract players, Solomone’s goal is to play NRL, but he’s in no hurry.
“I’m just taking it slow I guess, just coming back from injury,” he said.
I just want to get my body right, but hopefully in the next few years it happens.Solomone Saukuru