Queensland Maroons flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has had a stellar 2023, proving to be a try-scoring machine and showcasing his totem – the shark – every time he crossed.
The aim? To showcase his culture and inspire the next generation.
Tabuai-Fidow grew up "in a pretty big family who love rugby league, especially when State of Origin was on" and playing for the Maroons was always a dream for him. He looked up to fellow north Queensland product Matty Bowen and dreamt of lighting the game up like he did.
The 22-year-old Cairns Kangaroos product, after making his State of Origin debut in 2021, re-joined the side with a bang this year, scoring four tries for the Maroons across the three games. He also scored 15 tries across 20 appearances for the Dolphins in the NRL.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow: 'I brought the shark back out into the Origin arena'
Tabuai-Fidow played for the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII side against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby in September, with his side beating PNG 30-18, and will next line for Australia in the Pacific Championships, which will be played from October 14 to November 4.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’ve very grateful for it... very excited,” Tabuai-Fidow said.
“Coming off the year I’ve had, which I’m pretty happy with, it’s pretty good. Grateful for the opportunity. Just blessed.”
Tabuai-Fidow said he had grown in confidence this year and looked forward to what next year could bring for the Dolphins and the Maroons, should he get that opportunity again.
“Obviously still on the up… I think I’ve just scratched the surface,” Tabuai-Fidow said.
Tabuai-Fidow: ‘Pretty happy how my series went’
“I think we’re all excited for next year. To hopefully make finals next year.”
Tabuai-Fidow said playing for the Maroons was always an honour and each player who donned the jersey was inspiring, but there were five Maroons – past and present – who he looked up to and inspired him the most.
Five Maroons who inspire Hammer
1. Billy Slater
"Billy Slater is number one for me, for what he has done in the game and what he’s done at the State of Origin level... it’s pretty cool to see that. Being coached by him now is pretty crazy to be honest. Watching him when I was growing up, to now be coached by him in the Origin arena, is pretty surreal. I pinch myself every day, it’s pretty cool. His talk, the way he talks, I try and pick that off him. The way he talks and the smarts that he has, of the game… he’s retired now but I reckon he could still play on to be honest."
2. Matty Bowen
"Matty Bowen is someone I idolised growing up. To see that video where he took the intercept, I watched it all the time… I think it’s pretty cool. Just to have him being from up north is pretty cool and obviously seeing I could follow his footsteps... and I think I’ve done that. I was always Matty Bowen growing up to be honest… I wanted to play like him, I wanted to be like him. He’s a close mate now which is pretty hectic. I think the stuff I can learn from him is pretty good."
3. Greg Inglis
"Greg Inglis… the way he played the game… his strength, aggressive... and what he has done, is pretty crazy. He was always on his game, all the time and it was always good to watch. Especially with me playing centre, he was a centre at Origin level too, so I try to pick stuff off him. It’s pretty good. He also had the goanna (try celebration) and I’ve got the shark. It’s part of our culture and I think to be able to express it out there, it’s good for the Indigenous community. You see little kids do the goanna and now see little kids do the shark, which is pretty surreal."
4. Mal Meninga
"Mal Meninga... I’ve seen some videos of him in camp. We watched them play and the stuff he’s done, how big he was, just running over blokes... to see that was pretty good. He’s just a big body and everyone loved to play with him. What he has done in the game, the way he speaks, it’s pretty cool."
5. Cameron Munster
"Cameron Munster… he’s a good player on the field and off the field, he brings the energy. We’ve built a connection in camps, with me being on the same side as him. The way he plays, he can create something out of nothing. He’s off the cuff and you never know what he’s going to do… he’s a pretty crafty player and he brings the energy on and off the field."