Vunakece ticking all the right boxes
Roosters forward Eloni Vunakece isn't getting ahead of himself despite finally making his NRL debut at the age of 28 last weekend against the Sea Eagles.
Vunakece still works five days a week for Leichhardt Council and won't be giving that job away any time soon namely because even a day off from his role as a garbage man leaves a sizeable hole in his week.
"It's weird for me I feel like I have to tick a certain amount of boxes. If I find I have a week where I have an RDO, for some reason in my head I feel like I didn't do everything I needed to do because I missed that day," Vunakece told NRL.com.
"I know the workload sounds like a lot but to me it's just always about ticking boxes: Did I do that right? Was this not right because I didn't do this? Footy is really accommodating with work too."
"'Robbo' [Roosters coach Trent Robinson] has told me I can get to training when I can and if I miss anything then I'll go make up for it in my own way and own time. Or even fit it in between sessions.
"A day typically begins at 4:30am for me and it varies when it ends. This week alone I've had days where I finish at 1 in the afternoon and others where I'm done at 8:30pm."
Set to face a huge Warriors pack this weekend Vunakece is hoping to improve on his initial 26-minute stint where he averaged 12 metres per run and 15 tackles.
"They're always rocks and diamonds aren't they the Warriors? I'm always mindful about what's in front of me though. It's always going to be a test playing NRL," he said.
"No matter who you're against they're some of the best players in the world. I'm always looking to improve and I don't want to get complacent. I'm chasing bigger and better things."
While he's always looking towards the next big thing in life Vunakece afforded a couple of moments to reflect on his Allianz Stadium debut.
"That's what it was and what it felt like, it was a dream come true. I ran out there and just felt like I was where I wanted to be my whole life," Vunakece said.
"As a 9-year-old kid I used to come to Waratahs games all the time, my family are big rugby fans, and one day I stood in the tunnel and said 'I'm going to play here one day'.
"20 years later it finally happened. I had a think to myself the other day that every little extra I ever did finally paid off."