Young Storm winger searching for consistency
Storm winger Young Tonumaipea is determined to become a mainstay in the Melbourne line-up this season, and knows that consistency is key in his quest for constant selection.
Tonumaipea is yet to play a full season in Storm colours and has made that his main goal in 2016.
"My biggest goal this year is just to play out the season, that's all I want to do," Tonumaipea said.
"This is my third year starting and I haven’t really finished a whole year off over the last couple of seasons, so I'm just really trying to be consistent with my footy and play my role."
The 23-year-old admitted to trying to do too much at times last season and said that it did get to him mentally, but knows that he needs to focus on himself and believe in his teammates.
"I try not to stress too much, but I think that was some of my problems last year, just stressing a lot," Tonumaipea said.
"I think I was trying to do more than I should be doing, so I think I need to just worry about my job. This year I'm just trying to enjoy my footy and play consistently."
The young Victorian has started all five games for the Storm so far this season, and has formed a strong partnership with Will Chambers on the right edge, a relationship that Tonumaipea enjoys.
"Will's a Queensland Origin player, and just inside of him we have Cooper Cronk, so it's awesome to play outside of them. We have a lot of chat and they talk to me all the time."
Tonumaipea became the second ever Victorian to represent the Storm when he made his debut in Round 1 of 2014, and was last week finally given the opportunity to play alongside fellow statesmen and long-time friend Richard Kennar.
Kennar scored the match-winning try in the Storm's 18-14 victory over Newcastle last Saturday, a moment the two will share for a long time.
"I've grown up with Richie ever since we were kids and we played footy together through the Victorian system. That was our first game together, so just to play with him, and to see him scoring the winning try was just awesome," Tonumaipea said.
The Storm will come up against the Bulldogs at AAMI Park on Monday night, and Tonumaipea is well aware of not only the danger of their forward pack, but of their potent backline too.
"The Bulldogs are always up there and their forwards are their go-to men with the big guys coming through the middle, so our boys will need to be ready for them," Tonumaipea said.
"They’ve got real speed on the left with Curtis Rona and Josh Morris, and a really talented player in the halves in Moses Mbye."
"The backs come to action when the boys in the middle start to get a roll on, so hopefully we can work on shutting them down."
Melbourne will look to continue their unbeaten start at home this season when they face Canterbury, and Tonumaipea said his side know just how important it is to make use of the home ground advantage.
"Coach spoke to us about it, to make our home ground a fortress and get it back to how it used to be. I think we've really worked hard on that, we're 3-0 now and we hope to keep that record going not only for us but for our fans too," Tonumaipea said.