Storm's Kaufusi ready to back up breakout year
Felise Kaufusi sat around the family table last year in Tonga and reflected on a satisfying season.
The Storm second-rower began the year as a fringe first-grader but by the end had become an integral part of the club's march to the premiership, then got an Australian call-up and helped win a World Cup.
To cap it off, his younger brother Patrick – a former Cowboys played – signed with the Storm.
"When we went back (to Tonga) in the off-season, we were just looking around at each other," he said of he and his family members.
"It was pretty special to end the year the way we did. It was probably lucky he didn't play in that grand final, because who knows who to go for.
"It was special for our family, and it's been really great having him down here."
Kaufusi learned lots from the senior Kangaroos and coach Mal Meninga, who showed how passionate he is about the green and gold.
"His passion that he showed for the jumper and that comes from him and give me a bit of an eye-opener to what it means just to represent this country," he said.
This year he wants to continue pushing for more representative honours and play well for the Storm. Kaufusi played strongly in the World Club Challenge and is looking forward to Cam Smith and Johnathan Thurston's testimonial match this Friday night at Suncorp Stadium against the Cowboys.
"It's something pretty special to be honest," he said.
"(They are) two of our greatest players in our current era. I've got to pinch myself and be pretty grateful. It will be something to tell my kids when I get bit older that I played in this game."
Any thoughts of each team taking it lightly were put to rest too.
"Given the way Cameron and JT are, they are pretty competitive," Kaufusi said.
"I think we'll be going in there and doing our best to get the win for him."