Pep talk spurs Tupou to hat-trick
If ever there was a man who let his actions do the talking, it’s boom Roosters winger Daniel Tupou.
Quieter than a church mouse with laryngitis and equally unassuming, Tupou was a sight for sore eyes in the Roosters dour 26-12 win over the Raiders with the second hat-trick of his 39-game career.
With the rugby league world seemingly at his feet after his NSW debut on Wednesday, the 22-year-old crossed for two regulation first-half tries before rounding out his treble with his trademark leap, plucking a James Maloney cross-field kick from the air with typical ease.
Such is Tupou’s prowess in the air you can almost set your watch to it, ditto the minimal amount of fuss he makes over the tries that are fast becoming his calling card whenever he steps onto the field.
“Toops is a man of few words,” grins Jarrad Waerea-Hargreaves, as if he’s just told his grandmother how to suck eggs.
“He's one of the humblest athletes I've come across.
“You've probably seen it when he scores his tries he doesn't get up with much enthusiasm, he just keeps it humble.”
“He's a man of few words but he gets the job done each week.
“And to see him fly like he does tonight, credit to him and all the practice and time that he's put in on the training field; it's really shown.”
With his confidence bubbling after a solid first outing in the sky blue, the Beralla Bears junior upped the ante in his return for the Tri-colours, taking more than his fair share of hit-ups in the opening exchanges and running for over 100 metres in the first half.
Tupou appears to have grown a couple of inches on the back of his first interstate contest, a daunting prospect for opposition wingers given he already stands at 195 centimetres.
After backing up for his second game in three days, Tupou revealed a pre-match pow-wow with Roosters assistant coach and former Blues second-rower Craig Fitzgibbon, as well as fellow Origin stars Michael Jennings and Aidan Guerra, had spurred his remarkable performance.
"Fitz gave me and Jenko and Aidos the talk yesterday about the importance of backing up for the team," said Tupou.
"To hear that advice from him gave us that push to go the extra mile.
"He said what a test it is and it shows how good you can actually be after backing up from a game like that.
"It was physically draining, but it is good to come back and reunite with the boys and get the win."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was also full of praise for his young flyer, whose eight tries already this year has him on track to pass the 14 he scored in his breakout 2013 season.
"He was backing up for the first time in his career, he has never played rep footy, so it was a big game for him and he really delivered," said Robinson.
"I’m really proud to see a young kid back up like that and do what he did.
"He has got a good package on his game, he knows what works for him and he goes out there and does it each week."