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Sometimes a try means so much more than four points.

To most it was just a cheeky play from dummy-half to burrow over and give the Warriors a narrow lead, but for Solomone Kata, his 17th-minute try against the Penrith Panthers on Friday night was confirmation that he is slowly winning the battle through the toughest period of his life.

In June Kata's 30-year-old brother Tevita died suddenly in Tonga.

Little did anyone outside of his inner circle know at the time, Kata had been in personal turmoil for months prior to the death, enough to make him seriously consider giving the game away.

"I had a few problems with myself and my family, this is before my brother passed away. It made me want to give up my career," Kata told following the Warriors' 34-22 loss.

"I thought I wanted to give up, retire, I told some of my teammates and that, that I was going to give up.

"I was thinking, 'I don't even know what I want do, do you even want to go and play?'

"Then it happened that my brother passed away. It pulled me back and made me look that life is short.

"My brother has kind of given me inspiration and energy, so that's what I took onto the field [on Friday night]."

‌The passing of Tevita and the ensuing trip back to Tonga to grieve with his family, which includes nine brothers and three sisters, has given 22-year-old Kata a new perspective on life.

After failing to match his form of last year, which saw him rewarded with selection for the Kiwis for the end-of-season Four Nations in England, Kata said he knew at the start of the week that Round 19 was going to be his best performance of the year.

Two tries and personal season highs of 160 run metres and two line breaks leave little doubt that he was correct.

On both occasions he got over the line, Kata immediately bowed his head to a message on his wrist, which translated to 'rest in peace my brother', gave it a kiss and looked towards the sky.

"I felt more hungry, I knew straight away myself that I was going to have a big game. I haven't had that feeling in a while. It had been a long time coming for me to perform how I did," Kata said.

"I know we didn't get the result, but I am happy with my performance and I feel like I am back. I am in the right place at the moment and I think I can get back to how I used to be.

"I went back there [to Tonga], saw where I came from, it was inspirational and gave me some energy. It's helped me.

"When I went back to Tonga and saw his [Tevita's] face, saw my mum's face, my dad, I was kind of like 'well, what are they going to eat if I [give up on rugby league]?'

"This was from God, a chance to go back, restart again.

"Those two tries I got, I hope my brother is happy up there... it meant a lot to me. I don't want to let him down, and I know he is looking over me."


Acknowledgement of Country

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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