Tonumaipea on cloud nine
Big smiles, big hits and exciting potential would sum up Young Tonumaipea's fledgling NRL career to date.
The exciting winger scored his maiden first-grade try in Monday night's 28-20 win over Newcastle, as the Storm continued its unbeaten start to the season.
The try would have made everyone associated with the Melbourne club beam with optimism. Tonumaipea climbed over the top of the Knights' Akuila Uate and in one motion grasped a Copper Cronk kick and with a cat-like landing had the four points on the board and the 11,490 strong Storm crowd on their feet.
"It was an awesome experience," said Tonumaipea. "I was unlucky not to get tries in my first two games but Coops' kick was perfect and got me under the ball, it was great.
"Having my first try in Melbourne where I was raised has been an awesome feeling."
Just the second Victorian born-player – behind fellow youngster Mahe Fonua – to represent the Storm is an achievement that is not lost on the 21-year-old.
"I have always wanted to be the next person to do that (represent the Storm)," said Tonumaipea. "Firstly to show the kids that they can make it from Victoria.
"It's so AFL-dominated over here so to be the second Victorian, it has definitely been an honour to do that."
Tonumaipea and his partner on the opposing wing Sisa Waqa both proved a real point of difference in the win over Newcastle. Both scored a try apiece and combined for 257 metres, 118 more than their opposing numbers.
Tonumaipea admits he feeds off his more experienced partner, who is 50 games his senior.
"Definitely, Sisa is a lot more experienced than I am so I try and look at what he does well and what I can do to improve my game," said Tonumaipea.
"It's awesome to have Sisa on the other wing, a strong runner of the ball and to run off his runs and build some momentum."
Asked about the grin on his face after a strong hit on Uate in the second half Tonumaipea answered simply: "It is something I've always wanted to do and to do it at the top level, play against people like Uate who have represented at Origin it has definitely been a dream I've always wanted to do."
Given the solid start to his first season in first-grade, Storm fans may begin to dream what their own homegrown winger can achieve.