Vunivalu coy on World Cup representation
Try-scoring machine Suliasi Vunivalu has refused to commit to an international team ahead of the World Cup, saying his focus is on the Storm.
Before being signed by the Storm, the 21-year-old try-scoring machine moved to New Zealand when he was 16 and played rugby union, reaching the Auckland Blues development team.
When asked if he had been approached by Kidwell and New Zealand to play, Vunivalu answered "no comment".
Vunivali apparently is unsure whether to represent his native Fiji, New Zealand or Australia, but he insists his main motivation rests with Melbourne.
"I've just been focusing on the Storm," Vunivalu said.
"That stuff, I don't focus on it because my performance at the Storm will take me there (to the World Cup). At the moment, I'm just playing here at the club and being consistent."
The prolific winger is eyeing his first international selection for Fiji in next weekend's representative round.
"We'll see in a couple of days and go from there. Hopefully, maybe," Vunivalu said.
Whoever he plays for, the prolific winger is a certainty to feature in the World Cup at the end of the season.
"To be in whatever team I will be in, will be a good occasion," Vunivalu said.
"It's always a good experience to play in the world cup. I remember being young watching the rugby league World Cup.
"(It) was always the Kiwis and Kangaroos back then. I was always watching Billy [Slater] in the green and gold jersey."
It remains a possibility that Vunivalu and legendary teammate Slater will stand alongside each other for Australia.
"Everyone here's the same, they still pinch themselves playing with the big three," Vunivalu said.
"One day, we'll sit back and tell people 'we used to play with him (Slater), he's a legend of the game'."
Asked what it will be like if he lines up against the man he idolised as a teenager in the World Cup, Vunivalu said: "Maybe, we'll see. I'll be looking forward to that."
It's no secret Vunivalu set the rugby league world alight in 2016 after making his first-grade debut in Round 7 to finish as the NRL's leading try scorer, notching an amazing 23 tries.
The fast-rising star's season was almost significantly derailed as he suffered a disrupted AC joint which he played through during the Storm's Round 3 match against the Broncos.
Vunivalu was expected to miss at least three to four weeks but remarkably just one week later he played for feeder club Sunshine Coast Falcons in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup, and returned to NRL duties well ahead of schedule in Round 5.
"I was surprised as well," Vunivalu said of his quick recovery. "I thought I'd be out for four to five weeks, or more than that. But (it was) the will that I wanted to be back playing and not just sitting around at home with an injury. It was the will, I wanted to play again.
"It was my second season in the NRL and I don't want to be sitting at home in my second season watching the boys play. I wanted to get back and get my position back and play with the boys.
"I was bored at home. I did all the little things right and I was back after a week."
Without the advantage of sneaking under anyone's radar this season, Vunivalu has still crossed for six tries in his first seven games as the Storm go into this week's top-of-the-table contest with the St George-Illawarra Dragons and fellow lethal runner, Josh Dugan.
"We'll need to be at our best against them this weekend," he said. "We'll do a few previews of them this week and try to shut them down.
"I just want to be better with my performance, (and) not just scoring tries. Tries will come later if my performance is up there."