The Wests Tigers celebrate Moses Suli's first-half try against the Sharks.

Suli's rookie rollercoaster ride

Every season the Telstra Premiership delivers a new crop of NRL superstars in the making.

In 2017 we've seen breakout performances from Raiders winger Nick Cotric in the nation's capital, Panthers back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera in Anthony Griffin's line-up and young Sharks hooker Jayden Brailey replacing the retired Michael Ennis at the Shire with ease. 

Melbourne Storm halfback Brodie Croft has already earned comparisons with Cooper Cronk and looks destined for a strong future.

More recently Wests Tigers pair Esan Marsters and Matt Eisenhuth have taken their opportunities immediately after being blooded by coach Ivan Cleary.

Another player grabbing his chance at the Tigers is outside back Moses Suli.

The Fairfield United junior turned 19 in June and has played in every game for the Tigers this season, averaging 128 metres per match in 15 appearances to date. 

"It's all still surreal. The past four months I just didn't see coming but now that it's happening I just try and soak in every minute whether it be good or bad," Suli told NRL.com.

"The aim is to always win but the reality is you can't win all of them and we're still trying to learn along the way."

 


Spare a thought for what the Tongan international has been forced to sit through in 2017. 

He has witnessed three star teammates in Mitchell Moses, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco all sign on with different clubs and the man who gave him a first-grade debut, Jason Taylor, was sacked after three rounds.

Injuries have also forced the gentle giant to link with four different teammates on the left edge at various stages throughout the year.

"Sometimes you can get a bit down, but coming to training every week the senior boys will boost you up," Suli said.

"Guys like ET (Elijah Taylor) and TG (Tim Grant) have been around the game for a while now so are always encouraging to us as individuals to get better."

A change in coach brought upon a move to the centres for Suli under Cleary – a position he wants to cement and make his own with the pending arrivals of outside backs Taane Milne, Corey Thompson and Mahe Fonua next season.

Suli said he was enjoying his time at his preferred position under Cleary. 

"It was the first time I met him when he joined, I played against Nathan [Cleary] in junior footy so I wasn't sure if he knew me. I had to introduce myself," he said.

"He's just told me to use this year as a learning curve and to get better, the intensity has been up since he's come here and I'm more comfortable in the centres now. 

"I've always thought I was too big to be a winger."

Tonga have identified Suli as the future and picked him for an international debut in the Pacific Test match against Fiji back in May. 

The then 18-year-old lined up alongside experienced Warriors veteran Manu Vatuvei in what was also his first appearance for the national team.

With a strong performance for Tonga, the Rugby League World Cup at the end of the season could now be a reality.

"[Manu] made things easier for me, having another big bloke next to me makes me feel safe," Suli said of Vatuvei.

"It was crazy to think last year I would watch him on television and this year I got to play alongside him.

"It was a good experience for me and I learnt heaps off the other players and coaching staff and feel like I've brought some of that stuff back to club level already. 

"I treat every game the same and try to cement a spot regardless of the team I play for – I would love to stay in that side but we will just have to wait and see what happens."