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Rabbitohs prop Tevita 'Junior' Tatola.

Growing up in a "footy-mad" family, Rabbitohs prop Tevita 'Junior' Tatola and his six brothers regularly relied on mother Loni to ferry them around Sydney for training and matches.

Tatola lauds Loni's efforts as a major part of his NRL journey and will be playing for her in South Sydney's Women in League Round clash against the Bulldogs on Saturday.

"I've got six brothers, I don't have any sisters, and obviously mum played a big role in [my upbringing] and she helped me get where I am today," Tatola told

"My mum was there taking us everywhere, all of us boys. She played a massive role for all of us boys and I'm just grateful for her and I just want to do her proud."

As you'd expect with a testosterone-filled household, tensions occasionally boiled over between the Tatola siblings.

"We were all footy mad. A few fights and stuff like that but that's how it is when you have all brothers. It's made me who I am today," Tatola said.

Tatola added he also owes a debt of gratitude to his partner Shannon.

The front-rower advocated for the importance of Women in League Round, noting he thoroughly enjoys tuning into women's fixtures.

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"It's obviously a great thing that the NRL has put on. There's a lot of women out there playing rugby league now and it’s great to watch," he said.

Tatola's rise is no doubt a source of immense pride for parents Loni and Tevita snr, who moved to Australia from Tonga with family in mind.

In his second season of NRL, the 22-year-old Tatola has become a key member of coach Wayne Bennett's pack, playing every game so far and starting in most of them.

Bennett has simplified Tatola's job down to running and tackling hard - and the Wests Tigers junior believes it's an integral factor in his consistency.

"It really helps and it's helping me this year because sometimes I mentally go away from it," Tatola said.

"I think it plays a big part because if you're thinking about a lot of things, sometimes you get to the game thinking about other people's roles and not your own.

"But I think it's good to have Wayne there just telling you two simple things and that's pretty much all you have to do. You've just got to go out there and do it."

Cleaning up his diet and placing extra focus on recovery are two more reasons behind Tatola's improvement.

"I get a bit sore after every game now that we've played a few games, but I think I've just got to be more active and do more recovery there, just look after your body a bit more," he said.

"It's obviously going to be sorer after games. Especially leading into the finals, it’s a massive thing for me.

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"Diet as well is a big thing. I try not to get carried away [with eating]. It's something I've struggled with in the past, diet and recovery. I probably took that for granted last year. If I can do those things right, I think my body will be sweet."

Despite falling to consecutive defeats with last round's 26-16 loss to the ladder-leading Storm, Tatola insisted the fourth-placed Rabbitohs have no cause for concern.

"Wayne wasn't too bad with us [after the Storm match]. He pretty much just said we sort of let ourselves down; we sort of beat ourselves. A few costly errors there," Tatola said.

"If we fix a few things like that up, I think we'll be sweet."

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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