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Leading with actions | Sitili Tupouniua

To wrap up the first week of pre-season, Sitili Tupouniua sat down with Roosters Digital to discuss his 2020 campaign, the 2021 pre-season and beyond. 

The transcript below is the full conversation between Sitili Tupouniua and Roosters Digital (bold).

First of all, how does it feel to be back for pre-season?

It feels good!

Monday was cruisy, we just came in and did some screening and testing.

On Thursday we did the Yo-Yo test which was pretty tough.

It’s good seeing some of the new boys, catching up with some of the old boys.

It feels like the season didn’t really end that long ago, does it feel the same for you?

It went by fast as. I had a good break, but it went by real quick. It’s all good though.

Sitili Tupouniua taking part in the Yo-Yo test
Sitili Tupouniua taking part in the Yo-Yo test

Let’s talk about 2020 mate. You played 20 games, played consistent first grade footy. You must be happy with the way it went?

Yeah, it was a weird year like everyone says, but it was pretty good for me.

I got injured in round 1, then we had the COVID break so I only missed a couple of games.

Came back and I feel like it was a good break. I enjoyed it and I know most of the boys did too.

We got to run on our own schedules, they gave us training plans to run at our own times which was sweet.

I was happy man, getting to play week in and week out, even starting some of those games.

I felt really confident and it makes me even more excited for the years ahead.

Did you gain confidence in the fact that out of a squad full of quality forwards, you were getting a starting spot?

Yeah, I was buzzing ay.

It just all happened to fall into place for me.

One week I was meant to be on the bench, something would happen and I’d fill in.

I’d have a pretty decent game, then Robbo would say to me, “You’re going to play there again.”

I don’t know, it just all kind of worked out for me.

Tupouniua started 11 games in 2020.
Tupouniua started 11 games in 2020.

Fourth pre-season for you, not as much time as you’ve had in past seasons, how much does that change things?

We try not to worry too much about that, the coaching staff have planned it all out.

It still feels like they’re not smashing us too hard straight away, they’re building a good base for us.

I like how they run stuff here, it’s shorter time but I know we’ll be able to fit everything in there.

How valuable is three tough weeks of training before Christmas?

It’s massive, especially with the younger players in the squad.

That way when the senior players come back everyone’s on a similar level.

Three weeks before Christmas is good, I think I would have been sloppy if I came back after Christmas.

Tupouniua has been ripping into pre-season from day one.
Tupouniua has been ripping into pre-season from day one.

You came back first day of pre-season after playing a full season, you must have been raring?

They told me the day I was going to come back and I was all good with that.

I got some quality time with my family, it went by fast but I was all ready to go.

Are you enjoying the experience of working with some younger guys?

Yeah, it’s pretty good.

I feel like an older player, even though it’s only my fourth pre-season.

I like talking to the guys who are doing their first pre-season, I like helping them out.

I remember in my first year I was too shy to ask the senior players for help, so I’m making sure that I’m helping those guys who are too shy.

The boys here are sweet though.

Do you feel the responsibility a little bit to set the platform for those younger guys?

Sort of.

I’m just trying to do what I have to do to get better and hopefully that leads by example.

Like the older players did for me, they do what they do and I follow them.

If you do your best and train hard, they’ll see your actions and hopefully follow along.

Stay tuned on Saturday for the fan Q&A with Sitili Tupouniua.