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Family fuels Fai’s return to the football pitch

Beware the opposition – George Fai is back in rugby league with a new lease of life and is more motivated than ever to get back to the top of the game.

The former Brisbane Broncos prop, who developed his game over the years with the Souths Logan Magpies, signed up with the Brisbane Tigers for the season after being away from the game for a few years, mainly for family reasons .

“(I) took time to watch my kids grow up,” Fai said.

“I know a lot of people are different, and some people when they have kids it motivates them to get out there and work harder, but for me it was a different motivation, being there every day for my kids and especially for my partner, she had to raise three babies and it is not easy.

“I wanted to be there every day, just knowing that I didn’t have to play away every weekend.

“I know in 2019 when I had my daughter it was pretty tough week in and week out… the weeks I played away I really struggled so I just wanted to be there pretty much just to watch her grow through her early years.

“Now that she’s a bit older and I know my partner is capable of looking after all three (while I’m gone), I’m fine with getting back into the game.”

This year, armed with a new mindset and determination, Fai said joining the Tigers was largely driven by a desire to reunite with coach Jon Buchanan, who is in his second year with the Tigers and previously coached Fai with the Magpies.

“What really appealed to me was the relationships I had with JB in the past, if someone was to take me back to playing my best football and hopefully playing in the NRL, if that was under any coach, it would be JB,” Fai said.

“He helped me stay where I was in 2019, where I was still under contract with the Broncos and he really helped me a lot in my game with defense and running, and I knew if he there was someone who was going to take me back there, it would be him.

George Fai in the colors of the Brisbane Broncos. Photo: NRL Images

Fai, who aims to return to the NRL playing well for the Tigers, said he initially found the pre-season difficult – given he was also juggling night shifts – he was inspired by his teammates.

“I think the list is long with the boys who helped me at the club, but I think one person who really inspired me was Lucky (Taavale),” Fai said.

“I feel like throughout pre-season, in our first game, he wasn’t at his best, but just to see where he is now, that motivated me to get in shape and hopefully catch him on the scale I’m a few pounds heavier than him so hopefully if I can catch him I’ll be good but he’s probably someone who truly inspires me to bring out the best in myself.

“(This year) I think my ultimate goal is hopefully with the championship with the boys, I know I’ve played the Tigers for years and I don’t think I’ve seen a team stronger than that. , without trying to judge the former players – I think everyone makes the club and those who played back then, but I think with the squad we have here we can definitely do something special and I know the championship is really on our minds.

“For my game, I hope I can play the best I can and try to do my job week in and week out, so I just hope to cement a place in the top category because I know it’s going to be tough.

“We have depth throughout the 30-man squad, so I have to play every week just to stay there, so hopefully I can continue to do that and hopefully get signed by the end of the year. by an NRL club.”

Rugby league has always been in Fai’s family and one game he is particularly looking forward to is Round 2 when the Tigers take on the Magpies where he could potentially face his brother Justin, who coincidentally has played before. with the Tigers.

George's brother Justin is signed with Souths Logan Magpies.  Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

George’s brother Justin is signed with Souths Logan Magpies. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

“Hopefully we end up playing each other… I think it’s round 2 where I see us playing Souths, but he’s playing for Souths and hopefully when the time comes we get the chance to race against each other,” Fai said.

“I know it’s going to be a battle and I know he’s better than the last time I played him, so very excited to see what we can do when we lock the horns.”

The Tigers open their season against the Tweed Seagulls.

Photo: George Fai during pre-season testing. Photo: Mel Tabet/Brisbane Tigers

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