Agnatius Paasi charges through the Dragons defence.

Family driving Paasi's career resurrection

Twelve months ago and in spite of the pressures that come with having a young family, Agnatius Paasi's partner Chloe convinced him to give his rugby league dream one more shot.

The reward for her unwavering support will be to join Paasi full-time on the Gold Coast in November with a view to making it a permanent base for their young family that will soon welcome a new addition.

Paasi came to the Gold Coast last November with no more than a promise of an opportunity but he has parlayed that into a new two-year deal and a display against the Dragons on Sunday that earned him man-of-the-match honours from both Channel Nine and Triple M.

With his mother watching on from the stands for just the second time all season, Paasi scored a first-half try that was no more than a show of sheer determination and he finished the game with 181 metres, five tackle busts, two offloads and a line-break assist.

The second-tier contract Paasi received as an upgrade to the train-and-trial deal he agreed to originally was still less than he was offered to play with an Intrust Super Cup club this season but he was determined to prove he could make it in the NRL and support his family. 

 

The 23-year-old's partner and their four-year-old son have spent only one month with Paasi on the Gold Coast all season and with a second boy due in a month's time he said their presence next season will inspire him to even greater heights in 2016.

"It's been pretty hard, not being able to take care of her and also take care of my son," Paasi told NRL.com.

"It's been hard but I just tried to look at the positive stuff and try to keep positive all the time even though it gets hard sometimes. I just spend most of my time with the boys, they keep me company.

"I've been here just by myself for most of the year. My partner and son came for a short time so it was good to have Mum here for the last home game.

"They do [inspire me], especially my son. When he was here three weeks ago at one home game he was calling out to me saying, 'Go Dad! Go Dad!'

"Hopefully I can stay here for a couple more years. I would like to stay at one club for as long as I can and hopefully I can stay here at the Titans."

Having played just one NRL game with the Warriors prior to this season, Paasi has been a pet project of Titans coach Neil Henry who re-signed the Tongan-born back-rower for a further two years back in July.

"'Iggy' was fantastic," Henry said in the post-match press conference. "80 minutes at edge back-row, he's been there three games and played 80 minutes and tonight he was really on a mission.

"He carried the ball well, he whacked a few in defence and credit to him. He was a guy that came over for an opportunity and did a train-and-trial and then we signed him to a second-tier contract.

"He's made the move from New Zealand to have a crack and certainly come along in leaps and bounds."