Faumuina's NRL resurrection on track - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Faumuina's NRL resurrection on track

By Laine Clark 19/02/2007 07:26:21 PM Comments (0)

Controversial backrower Sione Faumuina still "has a lot to prove" despite keeping his NRL resurrection on track with an impressive pre-season campaign for North Queensland.

Cowboys chief executive Peter Parr was full of praise over the ex-Kiwi international's progress including a head-turning 60-minute stint as North Queensland captain in last weekend's 28-10 trial loss to Canberra at Rockhampton.

Parr admitted Faumuina's remarkable turnaround at Townsville since being dumped by New Zealand Warriors and then walking out on English outfit Harlequins had him well on track for the backrow spot alongside Test forward Luke O'Donnell in next month's NRL opener.

But Parr said Faumuina's chequered past ensured the hulking Kiwi had reached "the crossroads of his career" in North Queensland.

Faumuina signed a two-year deal in January and was obviously keen to impress against Canberra - his first game since July 21 last year.

"He understands that he is probably at the crossroads of his career," Parr said.

"And all the indications are that he will make the most of the opportunity that we have given him.

"But in saying that he understands that it is early days and he has a lot to prove both on and off the field."

Critics believed Faumuina's NRL career was over when he was cut by the Warriors last season after a string of off-field indiscretions and moved to Harlequins in London.

However, Faumuina left the Super League club without playing a game citing personal reasons only to resurface at Townsville.

Parr said Faumuina would not be rested from the Cowboys' next trial against his former club the Warriors in Mackay on Saturday despite their rocky past.

"I don't think there's anything in that," he said.

"Sione needs to play some football. We've got the Warriors pretty early in the year (round five) so he's got to play them sooner rather than later."

Parr said O'Donnell - recovering from elbow surgery - had been pencilled in for the weekend trial in Mackay but was more likely to return against Manly in Cairns on March 3.

He said Faumuina's form would ensure a welcome headache for coach Graham Murray as he finalises his backrow for the NRL season opener against Brisbane.

Origin reps Carl Webb and Jacob Lillyman and Steve Southern are also vying for the backrow spot alongside O'Donnell.

"I would suggest he (O'Donnell) is the only certainty in the backrow for the Brisbane game," Parr said.

"And Sione's been terrific from day one.

"He acknowledged that he had made some mistakes in the past.

"It's only early days but all indications are that it is a win-win situation.

"But we want to make sure he is good for us on and off the field for a long period of time - but so does he."

O'Donnell said Faumuina could become a "weapon" for the Cowboys.

O'Donnell said he was on track to return next weekend against Manly - a club that recently targeted him in an aggressive recruitment drive.

O'Donnell - who comes off contract at the end of 2007 - is yet to re-sign with North Queensland.

He said he was "flattered" by Manly's attention but admitted he was no closer to deciding his future.

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