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'I never thought I would': Polselli thrives off captaincy in Weipa

Activate! Queensland Country Week delivered Sunshine Coast Falcons fullback Luke Polselli an opportunity he never thought he’d get, after the 24-year-old captained his club for the first time.

Polselli – who last year was the James Ackerman medallist for the Falcons – helped guide his team to a much-needed win over the Northern Pride at Weipa’s Andoom Oval on Saturday, July 15, which pushed them back into the top eight.

He was told just moments before arriving at the field that he would be skipper, after usual captain Sam Burns (pictured above with Polselli) was moved to the bench to accommodate Melbourne Storm affiliate forward, Bronson Garlick.

And for the proud Falcon, it was a moment he did not see coming.

Polselli (left) at the coin toss in Weipa with Central Cape Suns' Trent Gordon and Northern Pride captain, Chris Ostwald. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Polselli (left) at the coin toss in Weipa with Central Cape Suns' Trent Gordon and Northern Pride captain, Chris Ostwald. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

“I never thought I would,” Polselli said of being captain.

“My temper and my aggression and that, I didn’t think it would get me there. But I feel like this year I’ve calmed down a bit. I’ve become more of a leader.

“I’m still young but I feel like I’m one of the older boys because we’re a bit of a young squad. I feel like I’m becoming more of a leader every time we train, every time we play.

“I was told literally just before the game… I was pretty stoked.

“I’ve been here for three years now and I love this club. I’ll forever be a Falcon.

“To finally lead them out, it’s pretty special. If I only do it once, then so be it. But it’s a good feeling and hopefully plenty more to come.”

Sunshine Coast coach Brad Henderson however said despite Polselli’s surprise, it was an obvious decision for the club.

Like Burns, Polselli has had to be relegated to the bench on a number of occasions this season to accommodate Melbourne players coming back to the Falcons, with Sualauvi Faalogo also a fullback.

Polselli has spent a lot of the season playing a dummy-half role off the bench, but has also starred in his preferred No.1 jersey and played on the wing.

Henderson said he had seen the Italian international mature this season and no matter who came back from Melbourne, the one thing he always knew is, he wants Polselli in his 17 week in, week out.

“It was a real obvious decision for us because he’s a big part of our leadership group at the club,” Henderson said of handing Polselli the captaincy.

“He’s such a leader with his energy and personality around the group and he was a great captain.

“He’s such a footballer and he’s probably the most competitive kid I’ve ever coached, to be honest. It’s hard at the moment with his situation.

“This time last year, he was our James Ackerman medallist. He was our best player. It’s been tough on him this year so it’s nice when we can reward him.

“He knows we still trust him and love him and the year hasn’t been the way he pictured it, but at no stage have I thought, ‘I don’t want Luke in my team.’

“I don’t care what number he wears, I just want him in the team.

“(The captaincy) probably controlled him a little bit, which is good. We needed a controlled Luke and that’s what we got.

“Moving forward, I just want him to trust himself. He knows football as good as anyone. He doesn’t need to be told what’s right and wrong all the time.

“He proved he can control his emotion and pour into the areas we need it. I’m sure he learnt a lot.”

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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