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Nothing new: Why Tabuai-Fidow is at ease in centre of Maroons' plans

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has been performing so well at fullback for the Dolphins that some rugby league fans – including his club coach Wayne Bennett – may have forgotten his Origin debut came as a centre.

For this year’s Origin campaign, Maroons coach Billy Slater has called in ‘the Hammer’ to again fill in at centre, with his scintillating early-second form seeing him edge out veteran Dane Gagai for a jersey.

“With him picking me at centre, I've got confidence in myself and he's got confidence in me, so I'm just excited,” Tabuai-Fidow told on his first day in Maroons camp.

“It’s probably my second favourite position other than fullback.

“I debuted [in Origin] at centre, in 2021.

“I'm stoked, I’m excited and very grateful to be here in the camp and getting a starting spot as well.”

With Tabuai-Fidow having starred out the back for the Dolphins this year, including scoring 10 tries, Slater said his form was too good to ignore and said that he expected him to be able to transfer his form.

“He’s been playing really well,” Slater said. “Last year, he was in and out of the Cowboys side and this year, he’s played every game for the Dolphins and done a great job.

“He puts himself in the contest, I love his involvement, he’s got some great strengths in his game, so we want to bring them out.

“He did a great job (at centre) in 2001 Game Three; the first try he scored, he put himself in the game and he was there for the moment, so am looking forward to the Hammer getting another opportunity.”

Tabuai-Fidow gets a try on debut for the Maroons

For Tabuai-Fidow himself, slotting into the role will be just like riding a bicycle, as he has trained and played all across the backline before. The talented 21-year-old also featuring for Samoa as a winger as well as for the Indigenous All Stars when representing his Torres Strait Island heritage.

“I think the last time I trained at centre, probably when I was up north, at the Cowboys coming off the bench because I sort of went on as a centre,” Tabuai-Fidow said.

“(I was training for) a little bit of everything, so it’s not all too new for myself, so I know what to do and what to expect and I will go out there and give it my all.”

While he is not sure yet if his family in North Queensland will all be able to make the trek down to Adelaide to see him  add to his Origin tally, Tabuai-Fidow said they remained his biggest supporters.

“I gave them a call right after Billy called me and they were stoked for me,” Tabuai-Fidow said of informing his family of his somewhat unexpected call-up to the Maroons team.

“They were happy and over the moon … Just the support that I get from them is really special and they do really make me feel comfortable wherever I am and I’m just excited.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours 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.

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