Suli overcomes nerves to star in NRL debut

It was a night Wests Tigers debutant Moses Suli will never forget.

The 18-year-old has remarkably only played two NYC games prior to his stellar debut performance in Round 1 against the Rabbitohs, but made it look as though he had been in and around the Telstra Premiership set-up for years.

Despite spilling the ball with his first touch, the Fairfield United junior went on to help create two tries at pivotal stages of the game, before crossing over for one of his own in the 56th minute.

The quietly spoken gentle giant, who was surrounded by family and friends post-game, admitted nerves got the better of him early on in the Round 1 clash but they soon went away the longer the game went on.

"I was nervous but it wasn't that bad. I guess my first touch it showed that I wasn't ready and then during the game I just got comfortable and went from there," Suli said in the sheds after the match.

"They [teammates] just said 'don't let it get to you' and to just play my game because I can do better than that.

"My nerves are now out and hopefully I get another crack next week, I reckon I'm ready but it's up to JT (coach Jason Taylor) if he picks me every week.

As for marking up against Greg Inglis, who shifted to the wing after injuring his knee in the seventh minute, Suli had to look twice at who was in front of him.

"I was like, 'oh wow!'," he said.

"It's a dream come true to play against players like that because I've been watching them since I was young.

"It was good to get out there and get a try on debut… but I've still got some things to learn."

 


When coach Taylor was asked in the press conference what he saw in Suli that prompted him to not only pick the rookie in the side, but re-sign the young gun to a long-term deal, Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods mumbled "Have a look at the size of him" before the coach explained.

"It's confidence… making an error in your first NRL game and then going on and having the game that he had, that's what he did with us in training," Taylor said.

"What has impressed everybody was that if he makes an error he just gets up and gets on with it. He's not 18 in that regard, he just gets on with the game which is what he did tonight.

"It's one of the things that stood out to us in pre-season because we put each other under pressure a lot at training. Most guys come up to NRL training and are overawed but he wasn’t for a second, and that’s why he was there tonight.

"I'm happy for him to start with an error every game if he's going to do what he did after that."