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Sulasi Vunivalu celebrates a try against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

When Storm sensation Suliasi Vunivalu isn't dreaming about scoring tries, he's thinking of ways to avoid a Billy Slater serve.

The Fijian flyer – who set a new record for number of tries scored in his first two years in the NRL – revealed it's gentle competition among the outside backs that keeps him grounded, with the likes of champion fullback Slater, centre Curtis Scott and winger Josh Addo-Carr spurring each other on.

"Billy's out the back – he's got high standards," he said. 

"He's going to be talking and you don't want to let him down. 

"If you do something wrong he'll yell at you. So I try and be in his good books on the field, and not get yelled by Billy Slater. That's why we're always competing."


Vunivalu is on 17 tries for the year, with Addo-Carr one behind on 16. Does the chance to stay on top of the leader board keep him motivated to score tries?

"I like how we (he and Addo-Carr) are both competing on the field," he said. 

"He helps the whole team out. It's a good thing (both wingers scoring tries) – for both of us and the team."

Vunivalu is modest when describing why he's lit up the try-scoring charts recently.

"I'm just out there getting all the cream," he said.

"The amount of work the boys do in the middle, with quick plays of the ball, that's all credit to them. I'm just outside catching and putting the ball on the ground. 

"I try to be consistent with what I've been doing this and last year, focus on basic stuff. Been working really well with me, not try and be flashy."

Watch Vunivalu take cross-field kicks above his head and you'd think he's played Melbourne's main code, AFL. He says he enjoyed catching high balls as a youngster.

"When I was in Fiji, I was always a fan of catching high balls," he said.

"That's what they do when they play (rugby) sevens, try to get those off the kick off. When I came here, I started watching AFL and I love it now. " 

Vunivalu made his Test debut for Fiji this year. With a World Cup later this year, he is tight-lipped about his chances of playing in the tournament.

"There are a lot of outside backs that are pushing to get the spot in there. I can't say I am definitely going to make it or looking forward to it, just focusing on my club."

The winger did acknowledge that rugby league in Fiji is in an upward trend on the back of the nation's semi-final appearances in the last two World Cups.

"After the 2008 and 2013 semi finals, the amount of fans in Fiji (grew) and they just love league now. Most of them go for the Parramatta Eels where all the Fijians are, and the Storm, Wests Tigers. 

"It's a big scary because rugby league is slowly trying to get hold of rugby union in Fiji."

So the Storm's leading try-scorer isn't getting ahead of himself. Vunivalu remains humble, grounded and is focused on the now. But he'd like the chance to stay on at the club.

"I love the place and the club has been very supportive. I can't see myself at any other club."


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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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