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Galuvao articles

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Kiwi Eagle, May 27, 2013.

  1. Kiwi Eagle

    Kiwi Eagle Moderator Staff Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Ex Kiwis international Galuvao no ordinary Joe
    CHRIS BARCLAY

    Joe Galuvao leans back on his couch, crutches side by side, with his left foot in a surgical boot and imagines himself in Mosese Fotuaika's shoes.

    The father of two has plenty of time for contemplation these days; an Achilles' tendon ruptured when he took the ball up against the Cronulla Sharks at Brookie on April 14 has given him ample time to reflect on life - and death - as a Polynesian footballer in the NRL.

    Galuvao, who turns 35 in July, grimaced when he was tackled by Anthony Tupou though the pain subsided, replaced by anxiety for players who have not been fortunate enough to build an extensive first grade career - and celebrate two premierships - before serious injury intervenes.

    There were also four Kiwis caps for the veteran who might have featured in Samoa's plans for the first time since 2000 at this year's World Cup in tandem with that other potentially greying "hair bear" formerly of Penrith, Tony Puletua.

    Months of rehabilitation means Galuvao will not be representing Toa Samoa in the UK, Ireland and France in October-November. The well-travelled fullback-turned-second rower might not exchange his moon boot for the football variety ever again.

    If his league career is actually over at 240 first grade games, Galuvao, a man of God, will be at peace . . . almost.

    He never opposed Fotuaika or Alex Elisala in their playing days and wished those tormented souls from New Zealand were by his side now.

    Fotuaika killed himself hours after he suffered a season-ending pectoral muscle injury in the Wests Tigers gym on February 28. Elisala, also 20, took his own life after a reserve grade game in Mackay, North Queensland, on April 20 - 10 days after his test debut for Samoa.

    Galuvao gazes into the distance and considers the tragedy of Fotuaika, the Gisborne-born prop who graduated from Benji Marshall's finishing school at Keebra Park on the Gold Coast and was poised to join the Kiwis playmaker in first grade.

    Instead the father-to-be left Tigers headquarters and, rather than return to watch a social cricket game later that day at Concord Oval, died alone in the garage of his apartment without leaving a note.

    The injury was a potential tipping point though his loved ones and detached observers like Galuvao will never be privy to a definitive explanation.

    But Galuvao, who endured the distress and uncertainty of two pectoral reconstructions, acknowledges the impact a setback of that magnitude can have on a young sportsman.
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    "When it (Achilles) happened I was pretty devastated because I knew it was the season for me and potentially the end of my career. I got over it pretty quick, you know life goes on."

    But what if Galuvao wound back the clock to 1998, the winter he made his NRL debut for the then-Auckland Warriors? What if his Achilles ruptured during that pre-season? Could he have handled it then?

    "I would never have been able to deal with this as a young guy because I wouldn't have had the life experience to deal with it. I wouldn't have had the character to deal with it," he admitted.

    Yet now, with his playing future in doubt, he exudes serenity: "Whether I play next year or not, a lot of it comes down to my faith as a Christian."

    Crucially, he has support systems in place; coping mechanisms - wife Maybelle and the wisdom of coaches like John Lang and Des Hasler.

    Galuvao did not play at the Tigers during his 16- year NRL first grade career, he has no intimate understanding of their player welfare protocols and is not limiting his comments to that organisation when he says: "When guys do get injuries, clubs have to be on top, asking them how they are.

    "In light of what's happened we have to ask how those guys are going. We can't just say turn up to your physio or doctor's appointment.

    "I know what it's like to be devastated after a long-term injury. Clubs have to be proactive, not just for their players physical wellbeing but their mental wellbeing."

    The NRL has welfare and education staff at all 16 clubs, rookie camps are held in the pre-season and on Thursday the NRL launched the CareerWise and Trading Up with the NRL programmes - initiatives to equip players with job skills and training for life after football.

    Still, Galuvao would like to see a specific programme for Polynesian players, saying 30 per cent of NRL players are Pacific Islanders and they also make up 70 per cent of the under-20s NYC competition.

    "Being a realist you can't help every one but all company's have a risk management plan don't they?

    "We have to have a strategy in place to manage this. Would it have prevented them (Mosese and Alex) doing what they did? I don't know.

    "If you're injured and you're a Pacific Islander, what is the likelihood that something might happen? It seems pretty high. Extreme is death. We've got to put systems in place."

    When Fotuaika and Elisala died, their standing as promising young footballers highlighted the vulnerability of those those who aspire to be the next Benji or SBW, or Polynesian youth in general.

    "It's something we have to look at. It's been a problem for years," said Galuvao, who lost his best mate during their final year at high school in south Auckland.

    "That had a profound effect on me; that's why I'm passionate about it.

    "One day he had an argument with his dad and he decided to take his life. It wasn't just that one argument; there were probably things underlying that were brewing, brewing, brewing.

    "I had his mum and dad come over a month ago. I talked about D and you can just see how hard it is. No one knows why he committed suicide."

    Galuvao has no guaranteed answer to safeguarding young Polynesian males and accepts that culturally they are placed under pressure of their family's - and their own - making.

    "When your name is in the papers, our culture looks at that as 'Hey, your family's doing well'. You kind of put expectations on yourself to do well for your dad and your mum.

    "A lot of your values and your worth system is based on that. You get in a trap where ‘if I don't make first grade I'm a failure, I'm failing my family'. That was me."

    After three unfulfilling years at the Warriors, Galuvao left the bankrupt club and ended up in Penrith in 2002.

    "I'd just had a baby (daughter Praise), I had no money, we were in that much debt. When I came to Penrith I was on 20 grand a year. I was thinking ‘How are we going to do this?' I had every excuse to pull the plug but I worked hard, trained hard and the club was an awesome help."

    There is also the obligation, for want of a better word, that the son will support his parents, siblings and extended family.

    Galuvao said it was difficult, if not impossible to modify those expectations but Polynesian youth had to define - or redefine - what constitutes success.

    "It's not a tangible thing. It's a mentality you've got to have.

    "One of the things I share with young guys whenever they ask me is: ‘You've got to redefine what success is to you.'

    "I've had to learn that who I am as a person is not determined by accolades, not determined by trophies."

    This might sound rich from a player who once commanded a $A350,000 per year deal at South Sydney - and one who had already played test footy and won a Grand Final before joining the Rabbitohs. But as Galuvao points out, his time at Redfern illustrated a footballer's fluctuating fortunes.

    In 2007 Russell Crowe wasn't acting when he urged Galuvao to quit the code and devote his energies to his church in Penrith because he no longer figured in coach Jason Taylor's plans.

    It was then his simple philosophy of "doing my best" kicked into action.

    "Can I control who picks me week-in, week-out? I can't control that. Can I control what the fans say good or bad? I can't control that. What can I control? One of them is your attitude. I've had to learn how to control my attitude.

    "I've seen guys get dropped and go off the rails. They're pretty much justifying why they were dropped in the first place," he said.

    It was that attitude that stood him in good stead when he had to play for South's feeder club Brisbane Easts.

    "The coach said ‘Joey I know it's a crap deal for you'. I said ‘What ever jersey I'm given, I'll give it 100 per cent'. That's what carried me through."

    He left the Rabbitohs with a year left on his contract and joined Parramatta in 2008 under Michael Hagen, who warned Galuvao he was only there as cover.

    "I was in and out of first grade. I went down to Wenty (Wentworthville) and we won the (reserve grade) grand final. I played my guts out for them," said Galuvao, rating that victory on a par with his 2003 and 2011 NRL title wins.

    - © Fairfax NZ News
    [hr]
    Galuvao to advocate for Polynesian players

    He's made thousands of tackles and Joe Galuvao is now preparing to go on the offensive, to protect the wellbeing of the current and next generation of Polynesian league stars.

    While he waits for what yet could be a career-ending ruptured Achilles tendon to heal, Galuvao has busied himself by studying a diploma in business and project management.

    And if his sixth game of the season for Manly this year proves to be his last as a player, it is likely the 34-year-old will join former Warriors and Kiwis team-mate, Nigel Vagana, and another Kiwi, Frank Puletua, as advocates for the NRL's burgeoning Polynesian playing base.

    Vagana and Puletua hold key roles in the NRL's player welfare and education division, an area Galuvao is interested in.

    "When Nigel does things at clubs, the boys relax. To have someone in the top brass speaking on our behalf, for us we have a voice. We didn't have that before."

    Losing Mosese Fotuaika and Alex Elisala to suicide recently has only heightened Galuvao's desire to help overburdened rookies.

    "In light of what happened to Alex and Mosese, I think we need a lot more Pacific Islanders in the [NRL] top brass to exact some changes.

    "The NRL have programmes and counselling for all NYC [under-20s] and NRL players, but need something tailored for Pacific Island players.

    "There's got to be more of us involved in the game. I'm not saying every club should have a Pacific Island mentor, but two or three guys should go around to check on the young guys."

    That's a task he and Steve Matai perform at Manly, where inexperienced backs, Jorge Taufua and Peta Hiku, have been taken under their wings.

    "I feel I have an obligation to these young guys," Galuvao said.

    "I chat to them. It's not to tell them how to play league, it's just to be their friend. It's those relationships you build up.

    "You've got to build up trust. Having those young guys there, I feel I have to lead by example. These guys were me 15 years ago.

    "They tease me about being the king of the exercycle," he said, recalling those days in the Warriors' gym where he watched Phil Blake, Stephen Kearney, Terry Hermansson and Quentin Pongia prepare for that weekend's game.

    "I'm hoping in a few years' time they can go ‘Now I know what Joey was talking about'."

    And communication is crucial, as Galuvao mourns the loss of Fotuaika and Elisala.

    "Being a realist, you can't help everyone, but you can at least give them the principles, the keys to deal with this stuff.

    "A lot of them don't have the right mentality, the right people to be accountable to, or they don't know how to ask for help."

    Galuvao wishes Fotuaika and Elisala were by his side now.

    "When it [the Achilles] happened I was pretty devastated because I knew it was the season for me and potentially the end of my career. I got over it pretty quick, you know life goes on.

    "But I would never have been able to deal with this as a young guy, because I wouldn't have had the life experience to deal with it, I wouldn't have had the character to deal with it.

    "Clubs have to be proactive, not just for their players' physical wellbeing, but their mental wellbeing."

    The NRL has welfare and education staff at all 16 clubs, rookie camps are held in the pre-season, and last Thursday, the NRL launched the CareerWise and Trading Up with the NRL programmes - initiatives to equip players with employment skills and training for life after football.

    Still, Galuvao would like to see a specific programme for Polynesian players, saying they now make up 70 per cent of the under-20s NYC competition. "All companies have a risk management plan, don't they?

    "We've got to put systems in place."

    - © Fairfax NZ News
     
  2. lsz

    lsz Well-Known Member Staff Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    As much as I would love to have him stay at Manly post career you get the sense he has far bigger fish to fry
     
  3. manlyfan76

    manlyfan76 Parra Trolls are the best. Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    He should be the face of the NRL.
     
  4. Wetpatch

    Wetpatch Member

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    Well written going to miss you big fella:)
     
  5. Chip and Chase

    Chip and Chase True Supporter Staff Member Administrator Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I wish I could get a bit of that Joe philosphy in my life. That takes courage.
     
  6. TokyoEagle

    TokyoEagle Well-Known Member

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    I think Joe has just found himself a career for when he finishes playing. Good article about something in league that does really matter.
     
  7. Ian Martin tragic

    Ian Martin tragic Well-Known Member

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    Wisdom, experience, good heart, smart; hire this guy NRL
     
  8. globaleagle

    globaleagle Où est mon chapeau Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Loaves and fishes, it would seem.


    Nothing in those articles about him definitely retiring!

    Or is it just wishful thinking from a fan?
     
  9. Koudini

    Koudini Member

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    Manly play Penrith last round this season at Brookvale. Both clubs should organise that game as a tribute match for him.
     
  10. simon_eagle

    simon_eagle Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing those articles KE.

    A great read about a lovely man.
     
  11. MissKate

    MissKate Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    That would be a really great idea
     
  12. Brissie Kid

    Brissie Kid Well-Known Member

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    Sun Herald tomorrow.

     
  13. castle eagle

    castle eagle Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    i hope it's true & if possible he manages to return by round 26.
    in time for our last home game.
     
  14. MissKate

    MissKate Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The souffs wcc article is interesting, have they already bought the gift win or is it another faux pas - a la dragons gift t-shirt debacle?
     
  15. globaleagle

    globaleagle Où est mon chapeau Premium Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Go Joe!
    Retiring Sea Eagles forward Joe Galuvao is among 15 NRL finalists announced for the prestigious 2013 Ken Stephen Medal presented by Telstra.
    Galuvao, who is passionate about giving back to the community, has volunteered his spare time as a mentor for young players, Polynesian communities & Charity groups.
    Joe's other great passion is music and he's heavily involved with the Mindfield project, along with other NRL players mentoring young singers & songwriters.


    http://www.seaeagles.com.au/news-display/Galuvao-finalist-for-Ken-Stephen-Medal/80958
     
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