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Fualalo overcomes eerie health scare

Danny Fualalo got out of bed one morning last season and immediately knew something was wrong.

Worryingly, all the 22-year-old could see were illusions – his head was constantly in a spin and he was convinced the objects around him were moving.  

Vertigo is a medical condition that affects a small minority worldwide and while most people experience a bout of dizziness in their lifetime, this type of constant sensation can become a permanent and dangerous way of living. 

It is triggered by an inner ear problem in which calcium blocks all train of thought sent to the brain, causing mixed messages regarding sight and balance. 

"The week before Round 1 last season I got it out of nowhere and my body tried really hard to fight it but couldn't," Fualalo told

"Your middle crystals in the ears play up and you always feel dizzy. Some of the crystals get thicker and it just throws your balance so you feel like you're on a boat constantly.

"I didn't think it was anything major at first and had never heard of it before, then I ended up missing 13 rounds with it.

"It's pretty much gone now but can come and go too - it's a random thing that I've learnt to manage."

The biggest adjustment over the three-month layoff for the Cabramatta junior was the inability to do simple things like look left or right and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. 

"I would just spin out with nearly everything I did," he said.

"I talked to the team doctor and he just said straight away I had to sit it out for as long as it took to go away.

"I literally just stayed home most of the time and couldn't do much at all.

"It was tough to get back playing footy after that because I fell behind."

‌Fualalo joined the Bulldogs' SG Ball side in 2011 after starting off with Parramatta in Harold Matthews and has cemented a position in Des Hasler's NRL squad this season with 13 appearances.

For the first time in his 28-game career, the back-rower was promoted to the starting line-up against the Sharks in Round 12 and ran for over 125 metres in a strong showing in the 9-8 loss. 

Despite conceding he was stuck behind a monster forward pack at the Bulldogs, Fualalo was keen to push for more starting opportunities down the track at Belmore. 

"It was a good change for me to start against Cronulla, I really enjoyed getting more game time," Fualalo said.

"Match fitness is different to normal fitness but I felt pretty good and didn't blow out too quick so hopefully I can prove to Des that I can play longer minutes and that he can trust me out there on the field.

"He's just told me to keep working on my game and have more confidence to talk more in team meetings and in the game."


Growing up around the Bulldogs culture for five years now, Fualalo knows all too well the high level of expectation that comes with pulling on a blue and white jersey. 

The club's passionate supporter base has been vocal over the past month after the side's string of four-straight losses, however Fualalo was confident the tide would turn.

"James Graham said to us that the last time we lost four in a row we made the grand final in 2014 but most people don't see it like that," Fualalo said.

"Playing alongside guys like James Graham and Aiden Tolman, you learn so much from their experiences and how they talk and hold themselves, especially at the moment. 

"Being at the club for a while now and knowing the culture for so long, we always find a way to bounce back and are looking for a big response on Monday.

"It's a four-point game basically with the bye after. The Dragons are a tough team and strong all over the park with some quality halves so we need to match them."

The Bulldogs suffered a blow on Sunday with five-eighth Josh Reynolds's return put on hold for another week after failing to recover from a hamstring injury.

Matt Frawley will replace Reynolds in the halves alongside Moses Mbye for the clash with the Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Monday afternoon.


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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