When BJ Aufaga-To’omaga transferred from the Central Queensland Capras to the Redcliffe Dolphins in the off-season to pursue greater opportunities, he could not have imagined his first game would be against them – and that he’d be playing it in a Brisbane Broncos jersey.
After a strong showing at training for both the Dolphins and the Broncos, the versatile back has been rewarded with a starting centre spot for the trial match being played at Rockhampton’s Browne Park, a ground he called home all last season.
“I’m a bit buzzing ‘cause I used to play for them and now I get to play against them, so, I can’t wait to show the Broncos what I have and what I can do for the team and I am excited to pull on the jersey,” Aufaga-To’omaga said.
“I was shocked (to be named in the starting side for the trial), I thought I would be coming off the bench and when I saw it, I couldn’t believe it.
“This pre-season, I was working hard to get that starting position in that trial, and when I saw it, I was really happy.
“I am looking forward to it. I know who I am going to be marking, he’s one of the best players at the Capras, so I have a big job to do on him... that’s Nathan Bassani.
“He played left all last year and I am playing right side, so I will be marking up on him.”
It has been a busy few months for the Redbank-based disability support worker, with the selection in the trial team coming after a breakout season with the Capras where he was one of the club’s main bright sparks, scoring 43 goals and 14 tries, and finishing the season with 3298 run metres - the fifth highest total in the competition.
The St George Illawarra Dragons junior was also named the club’s player of the year for the 2019 season and took home the award for best back as well.
“I was shocked hey! When I got player of the year I thought, ‘woah, me?’ ‘cause I think that was the first time I got that award in my rugby league career, so it was like – I was buzzing,” Aufaga-To’omaga said.
“But at the end of the day, I put in the work during the year and that’s what you get if you keep working hard.”
Aufaga-To'omaga, who was born in Samoa and moved to Sydney in 2012 when he was 16, said while he was looking forward to what was ahead for him on the football field, he knew there was plenty of work still to come.
“My goals for this year are to have a good year and I will be working for that debut, you know. I am going all in this year to get that debut this year,” Aufaga-To’omaga said.
“Obviously, that will come from hard work, from training on the field and off the field, you know, and another thing is to be consistent during the year with my targets and that; with my carries and all the little things, my actions on the side and it will all make sense at the end.”
The Broncos will face off against the Capras this Saturday, February 15, at 7pm.
The full gains and losses list* for the Redcliffe Dolphins for season 2020 is below.
Redcliffe Dolphins gains and losses
BJ Aufaga-To’omaga (Central Queensland Capras), Jonathon Reuben (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Marmin Barba (Ipswich Jets), Billy McConnachie (Ipswich Jets), Lachlan Timm (St George Illawarra Dragons), Logan Bayliss (North Queensland Cowboys), Joshua Gatt (Sydney Roosters), Justin Worley (Newcastle Knights), Jarrett Boland (Mount Pritchard Mounties), Ben Shea (Ipswich Jets)
Bryce Donovan (Norths Devils), Tom Geraghty (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Hugh Pratt (Marist Brothers Lismore), Scott Schulte (released), James Taylor (Souths Logan Magpies), Aaron Whitchurch (retired), Jedidiah Simbiken (Queanbeyan Kangaroos)
*Gains and losses list provided by the club and correct at time of publication