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Fahu's Fire: A Rising Rooster Finding his Feet

Naufahu Whyte is a name Roosters fans will be familiar with. The colossal 21-year-old is a staple in the Roosters reserve grade system, who shines when given his role-playing opportunities in the top tier competition.

But it’s Whyte’s recent form that suggests he is truly beginning to hit his straps as a first grade player. 

Going by the nickname 'Fahu', the prodigy arrived at the Eastern Suburbs Club several years ago from Auckland. Standing at 192cm, and weighing 106kg, Whyte is primed for the heavy lifting that comes with the demanding second row position. 

Whyte: 'I Need To Keep Playing My Part'

A consistent performer in the past two years for the North Sydney Bears in the NSW Cup, Whyte’s relentless playing style has attracted the keen eye of Head Coach Trent Robinson and has resulted in the youngster's best chance to date at leading from the front as a Rooster.  

Those with a strong memory will recall his NRL debut back in Round 22 of the 2021 season, where his involvement in a thrilling 21-20 victory over the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium made for a memorable introduction to NRL football. 

However, since then, Whyte has struggled to cement his spot in the first-grade squad, totalling just eight appearances to date.

Not deterred by the inconsistent first grade minutes, Whyte has taken the opportunity to hone his craft in the NSW Cup, where his dynamic style has stamped him as one of the most dominant players in the competition. 

21-year-old Whyte is determined and hungry to improve as the season progresses.
21-year-old Whyte is determined and hungry to improve as the season progresses.

Whyte has been a revelation for the Roosters in their return to the NSW Cup competition, he tallies a staggering average of 218 running metres per game and a tackle efficiency of 90% this year, earning him five call-ups to the NRL squad, and his first starting role in Round 16 against the Newcastle Knights.

Taking his opportunity with both hands, Whyte showcased his commanding nature by totalling the most running metres amongst forwards from both sides, with a mighty 176m effort in just 51 minutes of play.  

After a superb performance in a critical win, it can be easy for some to get carried away, but Whyte believes his determination and hunger for improvement will hold him in good stead as the season progresses. 

"I'm just grateful for the opportunity. I don't really get many starts, I'm usually off the bench, so it’s a good feeling," he said. 

"I just wanted to lead the pack around and play my role – it was a good win; the boys were really happy after that."

"It’s boosted the confidence of myself being a young one, and the team, I'm just trying to work hard, keep my head down, and stay focused." 

Naufahu Whyte has been putting in the work at training and during the Roosters' NSW Cup matches to catch the eye of Trent Robinson.
Naufahu Whyte has been putting in the work at training and during the Roosters' NSW Cup matches to catch the eye of Trent Robinson.

Despite the frustrations of inconsistent first-grade opportunities, Whyte believes his Roosters career is just getting started, and his resilient mindset the key behind his resurgence this year.  

"Footy careers are not always going to be how you plan them to be," he said.  

"Obviously there was a time there where I kind of dropped down a bit, but I still had that mentality that I wanted to play first grade."

We are working towards how we can be better and what we can improve on each week, and I'm doing what I can to make that first-grade team.

Naufahu Whyte

The influence that fellow Kiwi and long-time enforcer Jared Waerea Hargreaves has on Whyte’s career is another factor leading to the youngster's success, allowing the second rower to feel right at home in a Tricolours jersey, and inspiring his character on and off the field.   

"Jared had been a leader for this club for so many years now – I was actually his roomie over the weekend! It’s great to have leaders like that around the Club," Whyte said.  

He does so many things for the team and for me behind the scenes that nobody talks about, he's someone to look up to.

Naufahu Whyte On Jared Waerea-Hargreaves' impact on the team.

As the Roosters look to secure a top eight finish for the seventh year in a row, there is no doubt Whyte and his barnstorming play will play its part in achieving this goal as the season nears it's final rounds.   

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters 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.