Warriors fullback Tui Lolohea against the Titans in Round 22.

Fatherly advice puts Lolohea at ease

He has been the one constant in his life since his mother passed away when he was just 12 months old and it was his father who Tuimoala Lolohea turned to after sitting on the bench for 80 minutes against Manly in Round 19.

 


For the second week in succession Lolohea played the entire game against the Titans at fullback for the Warriors on Sunday but a three-game stint on the interchange bench sent the rugby league rumour mill into overdrive.

Coach Andrew McFadden was forced to defend his decision and deny that the 21-year-old was unhappy at the club while powerful rivals such as the Broncos were reportedly circling and showing interest in signing the Tonga and New Zealand international.

He played 25 and 32 minutes off the bench against the Sharks and Raiders respectively but it was the wait until golden point in Round 19 against Manly in Perth that raised most eyebrows outside of the Warriors' coaching box.

But as he has done for the past 20 years, in this time of uncertainty Lolohea turned to his father Paul who helped to set his mind at ease.

"I just had an honest conversation with my dad and it's pretty cool that I can do that," Lolohea told NRL.com.

"In his words he told me that through God it is for a reason. For me to become a better player and to learn from my mistakes.

"He told me just to keep smiling and I did that.

"There were probably a couple of days where I didn't but I got through it pretty well and I was just willing to get back out and help the boys and play a part in the team and bring some energy back around the boys."

 

 

A pre-existing heart condition that had gone undetected took Lolohea's mother when he was just an infant, leaving Paul to juggle working nights as a security guard with his duties as a single father during the day.

A couple of years ago as his talents started to earn contracts with the Warriors Lolohea bought his father a new car and kept the old one for himself and said his father played an important role when his future at the club was being portrayed as uncertain.

"He's always there to talk about whatever's happening and he's been there since the beginning," said Lolohea.

"He gets to tell me where I'm going wrong and he can just tell me whatever I need to work on and stuff like that.

"It's my first time [being the subject of rumours] and I guess it is hard. Everyone is going to have a say out there but at the end of the day 'Cappy' (McFadden) makes the final decision and I respect that and go off what Cappy wants to do.

"The media probably have made it look like I wasn't handling it well and stuff like that but I was handling it pretty well, having a lot of chats with Cappy and everything was going pretty sweet.

"I knew what I was doing wrong and where I had to improve and what I had to do better to get back into first grade and I'm still learning all those things too."

The inclusion of Lolohea gave the Warriors' backline an extra polish that made it look threatening with almost every attacking raid in the Titans half.

Shaun Johnson's speed and sublime pass selection created time and space for Lolohea and five-eighth Thomas Leuluai to link up with their outside men, Lolohea putting David Fusitu'a over for the opening try of the game.