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Right, said Fred: Tino credits 'tough love' from father for stellar rise

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui credits the tough love from his father and "second coach" Fereti for keeping him on track to win this year's premiership with Melbourne.

The 20-year-old forward has good reason to listen to his old man, as he will do before Friday night's preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium versus Canberra, after taking regular calls from his father on the areas of his game he must improve.

Fereti, known by his mates as Fred, was a powerhouse and feared forward in league and union in Samoa and after representing his country, came to the attention of rugby league Immortal Arthur Beetson, who recruited him to the Roosters where he played reserve grade.

Like many outstanding players at the time, Fereti eventually focused on a trade to support his family and has been a boilermaker for years near the town of Gympie in Queensland at Widgee Engineering.

"He was a massive influence on my early career and even to this day he still gives me tips. There is still a bit of tough love from my dad, even if I have a good game," Tino told NRL.com.

"He calls during the week in the lead-up to a match, and then straight after, and he always tells me exactly what he thinks.

 

"You made it. You're officially an NRL player and we are so proud of you, not only as a football player but as a person." 💜 #MelbourneProud

Posted by Melbourne Storm on Friday, 5 July 2019

"Dad knows what he is talking about because he will stay up at night and replay my game about four times before he goes to bed. He will analyse it closely.

"Even if I think I've had a good game he will say there is still plenty of room for improvement and tell me what I need to work on for the next week.

"That tough love from my dad has kept me grounded and me working hard. It is like having a second coach."

Fa'asuamaleaui will join the Titans next year but wants to leave the Storm with a premiership ring, but first he has the Raiders in his sights.

"I can't wait. I had a taste of it last week and I just want more. I am trying to soak it all in. It was good to get the win against Parramatta and hopefully we can back that up," he said.

"My goal since day one of pre-season was to go out on the best possible note and hopefully get a ring."

If he does, it will be with a nod to what his dad has done for him and the trail he blazed.

"He played for Manu Samoa in rugby union and then got an offer to come and play with the Roosters when he was a bit older," Fa'asuamaleaui said.

Storm v Raiders - Preliminary final

"He got a chance when Arthur Beetson came looking for him and picked him up from Samoa. He played reserves for the Roosters and always looked up to Arthur because he lived with him in his home when he came over. Dad is always telling us that story.

"Dad has been a boilermaker for many years in the hot Queensland weather with all the gear on to look after our family. I owe him and my mum [Dianne] so much."

Fereti's story resonates with Tino on several levels. His family heritage is paramount and he followed in his father's footsteps by playing for Samoa in last year's Test against Fiji.

Then there were four …

"I was very emotional and it was an amazing opportunity to be able to run out there in that blue jersey for Samoa. It would have been even better if we'd won," he said.

"It was awesome to be able to represent my family back in Samoa, here and all over the world.

"I even got a bit emotional during the game. In the backyard I would play with my younger brother [Iszak] and pretend we were playing for Samoa and doing the haka."

Tino's journey in the NRL began with his father by his side as the Storm sprung a welcome surprise on him before the 16-14 win over the Dragons in Wollongong.

"He was in the sheds and presented me with my jersey and that was just amazing. It was a complete surprise," Tino said.

"It was just so good to be able to say that I had made it after all the hard work my dad and mum had done for me as a kid. I play for my whole family. Even now they are my motivation."