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Tino’s father green lights Kangaroos dream

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui’s lifelong dream to win a Rugby League World Cup with Australia was inspired by Kangaroos greats and given the green light to proceed by his father Fereti.

The 22-year-old Gold Coast captain, who has Samoan and Australian heritage, was one of the best for the Australian PM’s XIII in their 64-14 win over Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

He appears certain to be selected in coach Mal Meninga’s 24-man Kangaroos squad on October 3 for the World Cup in England, where he looms as a key to Australian success.

“Growing up I’ve watched Aussie at the World Cup and always wanted to be a part of it,” Fa’asuamaleaui said.

“To get to travel the world and play for the country you love and grew up in is something massive.

“I was starting pre-season at the Storm as a young 17-year-old (when Australia won the 2017 World Cup) and I remember watching and Cameron Smith and Billy Slater and going ‘I can’t wait for those guys to come back and train with them’.”

Fa’asuamaleaui’s father Fereti, aware of his son’s passion for the Kangaroos, was consulted before the decision on World Cup eligibility was settled.

“I have played one international for Samoa and I am still passionate about both,” Tino said.

“My dad is Samoan and my mum is Australian. Growing up watching World Cups and Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva, I always wanted to be in their footsteps.

“It was a long discussion with the family and dad said, ‘You should go play for Australia’. I am hoping to be a part of it.”

New Zealand will boast a fearsome pack including Canberra prop Joseph Tapine and Penrith warhorse James Fisher-Harris.

The Kangaroos are on the same side of the draw as New Zealand and if all goes to plan the two heavyweights will clash in a semi-final.

“Tapine and Fisher-Harris are some of the best in the game and hopefully I get the chance to go up against them. You always want to go up against the best because you get to challenge yourself,” Fa’asuamaleaui said.

“I haven’t looked too much into it but looking at their team and hearing the talk from everyone I think (the Kiwis) are the favourites.

“Aussies stick together and are the ones to watch out for too.”

Since watching his idols win the tournament five years ago Fa’asuamaleaui has won the 2020 NRL title with the Storm and two State of Origin series (2020 and 2022) with Queensland. A World Cup victory is now on his bucket list.

“It is a massive driver,” he said.

“There are a few achievements I have been a part of and I am hoping to add more to it. Hopefully I get the call to get selected for Australia, make the final and try and win it.”

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