Burleigh Bears hooker Pat Politoni is looking on song for the 2021 season, in more ways than one.
While the Bears have returned to pre-season training and are looking to mount a successful defence of their 2019 premiership title, Politoni has also been keeping busy with a new project where he has been performing as part of a singing duo.
“It’s kind of random how it came about, it was through (Bears team mate) Sami (Sauiluma) that I met Simon (Anau), who was a mutual friend... he came from Canberra and he was always performing,” Politoni said.
“Sami put up a video of me singing… and then Simon saw it and Sami told him about me and it went from there.
“He hit me up and asked if I wanted to jump in with him and we have just been doing gigs ever since.
“It only started about two months ago, but we are already slowly making some traction, so it’s good.
“We don’t have a name or a page as of yet... but all that stuff will come in the near future, I just post on my personal page on Instagram (for now).
“We have been playing at The Henchman in Miami, that’s one of the spots, also we sometimes play at The Village Markets at Burleigh and we have played at some private functions.
“The last month, we have been doing a gig on a Saturday and Sunday, so it’s been pretty full on with work, footy and this new singing, so I haven’t had any time off, but it’s been good.
"(My partner) is really holding it down at home and making sure that I can go and do what I have got to do; she’s doing a lot of hard yards, especially with our young fella, so it’s super busy, but I am enjoying it.”
Politoni, who earlier this year was voted as the fan favourite for best hooker in the Intrust Super Cup during the past 25 years, had a musical childhood and his new venture has presented him with a chance to rekindle his love for music.
“I have been singing since I can remember really,” Politoni said.
“It was only in church (when I was younger) – my dad was conductor and I grew up in a choir... I was singing since I came out of the womb pretty much.
“But (as I grew older) no one knew, because I never really put anything up or did gigs and that, so when it did happen, everyone was pretty surprised, but I have been singing since I was a baby really.
“In the choir, we didn’t play instruments, it was all acapella – the instrument was the voice... but I can play a little bit of guitar, bongos and maracas, but I am not really a muso, just a singer.
“We do all covers of pretty popular songs, or songs that we think are pretty cool or what the crowd will like.
“We do a lot of different genres from Motown to pop, R&B, reggae, bit of country, so we can mix in with different crowds.”
While Politoni's flair for singing might come as a surprise to those who don’t know him well, he provided a glimpse of his talent during team bonding sessions when he transferred up to Gold Coast to join the Bears.
“I think that’s where (my team mates) first saw it, a couple years ago when I first came to Burleigh, we used to have an annual karaoke night as a bonding session before pre-season and that was the first time I got up and the boys were like ‘oh, okay – a little bit of a hidden talent there’, but nothing real serious until now.
“We only just started, we are finding a bit of traction but at the same time, we want to keep improving; we are still learning how to play together, we are getting better every gig and try to pick up all different genres and get better and better at each one.
“I am really enjoying it at the moment, it’s pretty fun … just getting up in front of everyone, it’s pretty daunting at the start, but I think after a while, you get lost in the music and you don’t see faces, you are just sort of playing.
“It slowly becomes second nature, sort of like being on the footy field, you don’t really hear the crowd or people screaming at you, you are just sort of go into cruise control and your body just does it; that’s kind of like music too.”
While Politoni has been able to make the most of his time away from the field in 2020, he is looking forward to the return of the Intrust Super Cup next season and has been working hard during the Burleigh pre-season which kicked off on November 10.
Match: Magpies v Bears
Round 1 -
Venue: Davies Park, Brisbane
“We started pretty early, I haven’t trained in November since probably before I came up here, that was about four or five seasons ago,” Politoni said.
“We have a lot of rest... but a lot of our guys played in the local comp, so it was great for us; a lot of our guys are senior players now, we have been around for a little while, we have got some niggles and whatnot to get over, so it was probably a blessing for us (to have the year off), so I think it is going to add a lot of footy life back into our team.
“We still pretty much have the side, bar our coach, we have got a new coach, but Stoney (Rick Stone) is a great coach with a lot of experience... the boys are enjoying learning off him and playing the style he wants to play.
“I have been enjoying it a lot... meeting a few of the new faces... there’s a really good buzz around the club, I think we are in for another big year.”
An experienced player who has twice taken home the hooker of the year gong at the end-of-season Queensland Rugby League awards, the former Tonga representative is looking to shift his focus away from just his actions on the field to incorporate more of a role as an educator.
“During the break I was doing a lot of training, just working on my body; the last couple of seasons I have had a couple of pretty bad injuries, so I will be happy to be fit and healthy and I just want to play good footy," Politoni said.
“I think I am going through that next stage of my career now and I would like to help some of the guys coming through the club.
“I am pretty reserved as a person, I don’t really talk a hell of a lot, and with losing Jamal (Fogarty) to the Titans, he was a guy who was our leader, but he was also our biggest talker, and that’s something we are going to miss this year, so I might have to re-jig my role around the club a little bit and be a bit more vocal.
“In terms of my personal goals, I probably have a couple seasons left and I want to leave the club in a good place, I would like to win another title for sure and win down in Sydney, that’s been something that’s been a real (goal) for our club.
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“Especially being injured and not being able to finish the game with the boys (in 2019), and the way we lost, that was just heartbreaking.
“A bit of redemption down in Sydney will be great, I just want to play consistent footy this year, that’s all I want.”