Alani Taumoepeau is a more-than-worthy recipient of the inaugural NRL in Tonga Volunteers Award.
Alani's dedication to helping young Tongans is inspirational to observe, given he is only 16 years old himself. I often have to remind myself that he is only young and should be enjoying the activities as a participant, not as a seasoned volunteer who I lean on regularly.
Alani attends sessions every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday across the Kingdom's capital of Nuku'alofa and is more than capable to run his own skill rotation, coach or referee games depending on what I ask him to do on the day. It is not uncommon to see Alani's mum drop him off at a ground with Alani finding his own way home afterwards. On many occasions he has done so by foot because he is too shy to ask for a lift.
Alani attends ACTS Community College where he will participate in the NRL Beyond the Goal Post Program in Term 2. I have no doubt his fellow students will follow his every move. In the meantime, I am looking forward to watching this fine young man's development as I have no doubt Alani will become not only a leader in his school community, but a leader within the Kingdom of Tonga.
Congratulations Alani and well deserved.