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Podcast: BTR Episode 49 with Fonua Pole

On this week’s episode of BTR we learn a lot more about 21-year-old middle forward, Fonua Pole.

Behind the Roar is available on Apple, Spotify and YouTube.

We chat about preparations for Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs, how divine intervention helped him switch from Aussie Rules to Rugby League, and we learn about his ‘first true love’. 

As debate continues about banning the long kick-off, Fonua says he loves coming off the back fence, revealing what goes through his mind at that moment just before impact.

Pole hits a hole last week against the Broncos
Pole hits a hole last week against the Broncos

Of Tongan heritage, New Zealand-born, and raised in Melbourne, Fonua also reveals his entrepreneurial side, telling us about his latest clothing label and the inspiration behind its name, ‘live yourz’. 

A full house in Auckland for Pole's NRL debut
A full house in Auckland for Pole's NRL debut

Pole made his NRL debut in the ‘homecoming’ game against the Warriors in 2022 and recalls it being a daunting experience.

This was the first NRL game on New Zealand soil in almost three years, a full house in Auckland, and Fonua, just 19 years of age at the time, readily admits he was s*%@@%g himself.

These days, 41 games into his NRL career, he still feels nervous, and at times, those nerves blend with fear. 

As a middle forward part of the job description involves those tough long carries from the kick-off and restarts, into the collision zone.

There’s a bit of chat about at the moment about banning the long kick off in an effort to minimise the risk of head injuries and concussions.

Pole says he understands that side of the argument but for him, it’s a highlight of the game.

“I can see where people are coming from in trying to protect a player’s health and that,” he said.

But for me as a forward I think the kick-off is one of the most exciting parts of our game.

Fonua Pole
Pole winds up against the Raiders last season
Pole winds up against the Raiders last season

As it turns out, one of Fonua’s fondest memories in his young career is a game last season at Campbelltown against the Raiders where time after time he was sent into the crash zone from the long kick restarts.

All that and more on episode 49 of Behind The Roar.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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