Willie Talau backs son Tommy to make impression in Wests Tigers debut


“I coached him at SG Ball and Harold Matts at the Bulldogs, as well as the stuff we do around home. Tommy is enthusiastic about his footy and is really easy to teach to be honest, he loves it. He takes on criticism well and tries to improve every week. That’s all you can ask for.”

The Tigers signed Talau for this year after the five-eighth became the Bulldogs’ leading tryscorer en route to last year’s SG Ball grand final appearance. The Moorebank Rams junior has made the jump from Jersey Flegg to Canterbury Cup with the Tigers, averaging more than 100 metres and four tackle breaks per game, as well as scoring four tries in nine games. He gets to run out against the Sea Eagles after being upgraded to the club’s top-30 squad before the June 30 deadline.

Willie Talau scores for the Bulldogs in 2002.Credit:Tim Clayton

“Tommy is extremely competitive and just loves footy,” Willie Talau said. “He loves to learn about it, he’s a student of the game, always asking questions. He watches a lot of games on tele and tries to gather as much information as he can.

“Tommy never supported a team when he grew up, he supported players. The Melbourne Storm players, he loved Cooper Cronk because he is a half. (Cameron) Munster and Billy Slater were among his favourites, all the exciting ones.”

Tommy Talau didn’t feel any pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps, whether it be playing football or opting to leave Canterbury.

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“It’s weird, I’ve always just been dad,” Willie Talau said. “Our relationship, when I’m the coach I’m coach, but as far as what I’ve done before it just goes straight over the top of his head.

“The decision to leave the Bulldogs was totally Tommy’s. He thought he needed to go somewhere fresh, he was 18 turning 19 and I thought it was time to make his own decisions.

“It was no disrespect to the Dogs, he just wanted a fresh start somewhere else.

“He got a great opportunity to do that with the Tigers and it just happened. He’s made the decision and backed himself.

“On a personal note I’m over the moon for him. Obviously I have a great understanding of how hard it is to get there, all the effort and sacrifices that go into making your debut. It’s also the start of a career, so we’re excited and can’t wait to see him run out.”



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