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Big name. Big frame. Big dollars and big demand. And to top it all off, big bleach blond hair.

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is halfway through the biggest month of his career, representing the Australian Prime Minister's XIII, Samoa's Nines side, the Junior Kangaroos and then Samoa's Test side on four straight weekends.

His surname – pronounced "Fah uh sewer mal-uh ahh we" – catches the eye on the team sheet.

His 197cm and 115kg frame, with a decent motor too, has rival clubs lining up lucrative long-term contracts for the Storm rookie.

And that hair?

"I had to spin the wheel down at Melbourne, and I landed on shave or dye," Fa'asuamaleaui grins.

"I left my dinner plate at the table at the Storm there, I didn't take it back to the sink, and the next day it was called out by the coaches.

"The boys jumped on it and I had to spin our wheel. The punishments can be fitness, karaoke, shave or dye, there's heaps of things.

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui representing Samoa at the World Cup 9s.
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui representing Samoa at the World Cup 9s. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"No way I was shaving it. It cost me about $100 at a hairdresser, I didn't want to do it at home and end up with blond eyebrows or my hair falling out."

Fittingly, Fa'asuamaleaui has had himself a big 2019.

Bouncing baby Alina came first six months ago, joining the six-strong house he shares with partner Jordan Ngarimu, siblings Isaac and Olivia, and Storm centre Marion Seve.

His first-grade debut followed next, with his father Fereti (Fred to all and sundry) making an emotional jersey presentation in the WIN Stadium sheds.

Family is, understandably, a big factor for Fa'asuamaleaui, born in central-western NSW before shifting north to Gympie in Queensland.

It's exactly how Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy lured him away from them in the first place when Fa'asuamaleaui was still in high school.

"I met him on the Sunny Coast at the start of 2017, the Storm had a trial against the Broncos," Fa'asuamaleaui tells

"I was with Broncos when I was talking to Craig, my contract was coming up. From a young age I was with Broncs the whole way, from the age of 11 or so, but when I first met Craig I was amazed, just amazed by him.

"That first meeting was nothing to do with football, it was all about me and my family, he was just a good man and talking just about life, not footy, that really impressed me.

"I'd been meeting with other clubs but that was what made me pick the Storm.

"Just the way Craig is and how he's a good person, that first meeting I felt like I had a bond with him and that drew me to Melbourne."

The Storm hope it will keep Fa'asuamaleaui at the club.

He is already contracted until the end of 2020, and has had an extension – believed to be three years in length – tabled.

But his undoubted potential has rival outfits circling as well, with big-money offers Melbourne will struggle to match.

He plans to leave all discussions of his future until after Samoa's November 2 Test against Fiji and will be guided by Fereti through another big decision.

A handy rugby union player himself, Fereti was scouted from Samoa to the Roosters in the mid 1990s by Immortal Arthur Beetson.

He even stayed with the legendary front-rower in Bondi when he first arrived from Samoa but was unable to progress beyond the Tricolours' reserve-grade ranks.

Croft calm despite ongoing contract storm

"We talk about his career now and then," Fa'asuamaleaui said.

"But he sort of says that he wants me to be the better version - do everything right, train hard and do good things away from footy.

"Just like any dad, he's trying to steer me in the right direction. I haven't talked to anyone about my future, I can definitely see myself at Melbourne long-term, but once those talks come, they'll come.

"I'm definitely happy at the Storm. I'm just looking to get through the season first and enjoy these rep games."

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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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