The Warriors have secured hard-working back-rower Sebastine Ikahihifo for the 2015 season.
It is one of the biggest tongue-twisters in the NRL, but Sebastine Ikahihifo’s name is one worth remembering.

Ikahihifo, pronounced eek-ar-heehee-for, is fast becoming a sure thing when the Warriors’ side is named each week, despite not playing any apart in the opening four rounds of the competition.

While he may be a commentator’s worst nightmare, according to his coach Andrew McFadden the man they call “Seb” is an NRL team’s dream come true.

“Sebastine has been great for us, he is picking himself at the moment. As long as he keeps working hard like he has been then he keeps his spot,” McFadden declared.

“Although he probably wasn’t going to feature in the starting side at the start of the year he has certainly put his hand up.
He is the first one picked for me every week at the moment.”

In the club’s upset victory over the Storm on Anzac Day, back-rower Ikahihifo was one of the best on the park, winning the Anzac Medal, which is awarded to the player who best typified the Anzac spirit through his performance on the field.

Averaging 22 tackles per match in 2014, Ikahihifo is doing a good job of filling the void left in the middle of park when Elijah Taylor departed to the Panthers at the end of last year.

But the things he isn’t doing are perhaps just as important as the things he is. Ikahihifo is averaging under one missed tackle per game this season, in a team that averages a whopping 30.

The 23-year-old has a work ethic on and off the ball which set him apart from the rest while coming through the Warriors’ NYC system, where he played an integral role in the 2010 and 2011 premiership victories.

However his ability under pressure was always a concern.
“Seb is a really fit guy but has struggled with his composure on the field,” McFadden said.
 
“He has really settled down so is a lot more efficient with his energy, and those efforts he is making are really counting for the side.”

Ikahihifo agreed, explaining that calmness was a quality many rookies in the NRL struggled to grasp initially.

“Every time I step up to first grade I am always nervous, always frantic and my mind set is ‘I have got to make every tackle, every run’, Ikahihifo said.

“I spoke to the coaching staff and they said to just stay calm and play my game.

“The whole buzz of the NRL… this is a dream. That is what rookie players struggle with, they get up and want to give all they have got and then they lose it from there because they panic.

“Wearing the jersey is the biggest buzz for me, and every time I wear it I am going to give it all I have got.

“I know that I can be better, I set goals to be the best and it is working really well. I want to be the best at training and the best on the field.”

Ikahihifo is starting to feel more settled, and so too are the NRL Fantasy coaches who took a punt on him at the start of the year. Averaging 25 points per game, his price has by $11,570 after only four games and he looks a decent gap-filler heading into the State of Origin period.