For the past few years, Shaun Nona has had the habit of winning.
A new signing for the Townsville and Districts Mendi Blackhawks; the club are hoping the former Tully Tigers junior can help spark the side in the upcoming season.
In 2014, Nona was part of the Northern Pride’s premiership-winning team, claiming “Man of the Match” along the way.
The Pride then went on to win the National Final played on NRL grand final day – taking out the highly-fancied Penrith Panthers side.
That year – and in the following year as well – the talented half was also selected for Queensland Residents duty with the side winning both encounters.
In 2015; he was named the QRL’s Representative Player of the Year at the awards night.
The following season; he moved to Wollongong, playing with the Illawarra Cutters after being signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons.
His NSW Cup side were successful in claiming the National Final honours, at the expense of the Burleigh Bears; making him one of only a handful of players to win National Championships for both Queensland and New South Wales teams.
Nona was also selected for NSW Residents team and this time he helped them to defeat the Queensland representatives.
In his career, he has been signed up to three different NRL clubs; the Melbourne Storm, Dragons and Brisbane Broncos, in the process playing in two Auckland 9s tournaments.
Last year, he returned to Queensland to link up the Broncos and spent the season playing for Wynnum Manly.
“(Souths Sydney) assistant Jason Demetriou was my coach at the Pride and Cutters and he was the one to get me back to Queensland last year,” Nona said.
“My last game for Wynnum in 2018 was against the Blackhawks and after speaking with some of the boys after the game, I knew I wanted to head back north.
“I played with Kalifa Faifai Loa (pictured with Nona above), Levi Dodd and Jake Marketo at the Cutters (Illawarra), and it’s made my transition a lot easier.”
Despite his success on the field; Nona says his greatest achievement is his 14-month-old son Nickson, and said signing with Townsville was the right decision for him and his family.
“Being closer to family was definitely a draw card for my decision to move,” Nona said.
“We would like Nickson to grow up around family.
“With my family in Tully and my partners family in Innisfail, it’s a lot closer to visit.”
While he hasn’t given up on his dream of making an NRL debut, he said a maiden premiership at the Blackhawks was his ultimate goal for 2019.
“Playing with NRL clubs has been a great experience for me, ones that I will never forget.
“My first goal is to try and lock down one of the halves positions. There are a lot of talented players here and lots of competition (for spots).
“I’m really enjoying being at the club, especially with the new coach Aaron Payne.
“But I still haven’t given up on my dream of making a NRL debut. I know if I play my best footy, I still might get an opportunity one day.”