Pacific Test a boost for Samoan juniors
Samoan Test representative and Manly forward Jesse Sene-Lefao says earning a spot in the Four Nations has generated a great response back in Samoa and will provide a huge boost to Samoan junior rugby league.
When asked about his week in camp and the match itself, Sene-Lefao said there was plenty of pressure on the players given the attention the game received.
"A lot of Samoan greats were giving us messages, and guys like Tim Cahill sending us private messages wishing us luck. Even the Samoan minister got behind us and that's really rare because he loves [rugby] union," he said.
"Winning that game, and being in the Four Nations has really opened Samoans' eyes in rugby league. I know back in Samoa they're really proud and I reckon things are going to start moving in Samoa with junior development in rugby league."
He said he has received a great response and especially from his family who are all proud of the achievement of earning a spot in the Four Nations tournament with a 32-16 win over Fiji in the Pacific Test at Penrith during the Representative Round.
"A lot of the community out west, they put little parties on and celebrations, Facebook's going crazy – it's a really exciting time for Samoan rugby league," he said.
He also credited the hugely vocal 9,000-strong crowd.
"Yeah it wasn't quiet!" he laughed.
"Every run and every tackle was like a 'boom' or a 'bang'. The crowd really got into it and it gave us a little lift."
He said the Test has given him greater confidence as a player going back to club footy, but more importantly has provided a reminder of why we play the game.
"It has given me better confidence for the weekend and also just remembering why you play – you play to have fun, you play for your mate next to you and play for your family and friends so it really has [given me more confidence]," he said.