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Jose - the making of a Manly Legend

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by HappilyManly, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. HappilyManly

    HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +19,027 /367
    Mum's the word for Manly's 2012 revelation Jorge Taufua
    by: Josh Massoud
    From: The Daily Telegraph
    September 20, 2012 12:00AM
    Source: The Daily Telegraph

    WHEN the chips were down, Jorge Taufua simply looked up.
    Just another kid on a packed training field of fellow hopefuls, he would routinely gaze at the adjacent Westmead Hospital during the 2009 pre-season.

    The geometrical building always gave Taufua strength to continue, because the force within its sterile walls refused to waver.

    Late the previous year, his mother Sandi was admitted to ICU after suffering a severe and unforeseen stroke.

    She was 36 years old.

    As the weeks turned to months and the leaves to brown, Sandi remained under care as she fought to regain her speech and hard-won dignity. And when he wasn't at her bedside, Taufua scrapped and scrimaged to build a career capable of somehow easing the discomfort.

    "Our school team actually trained next to the hospital," he says.

    "Every time at training, I'd look up and see the hospital.

    "I knew mum was inside fighting. It got me through all those times I thought about giving up. She would keep giving me an extra push.

    "She inspired me."

    Fast forward to this week and Sandi is now sitting quietly on a large sofa as her eldest son recalls those dark days.

    "No," she interrupts suddenly. "He inspires me."

    Inherently, rugby league is a game built on overcoming adversity.

    Many of its proudest flagbearers rise from the humblest roots, their rags-to-riches tales deepening to the fabric of motivation that compels youngsters to keep beating the odds.

    But even before Sandi's stroke, the break-out player of this year's finals series was a prime candidate for the next generation of NRL aspirants.

    When he moved to Sydney's west as a seven-year-old, Canberra-born Taufua was raised on Sandi's single income. She did odd jobs such as waitressing, housekeeping and receptionist work to put him and younger brother Tony through school.

    But it wasn't until his early teenage years that Taufua first played rugby league for Wentworthville Magpies.

    Having not taken the slightest interest in the code until then, Sandi fast became an ardent supporter.

    Jorge Taufua - Try.
    Jorge Taufua scores for Manly during the NRL elimination final against the Cowboys. Picture: Mark Evans Source: The Daily Telegraph
    "I was not really that good at first," Taufua says.

    "Mum used to have to grab me all the time and push me to get involved.

    "Most games, I could hear her yelling on the sidelines.

    "She wasn't afraid to give me a bit of coaching."

    It's now been four years since Taufua was privy to Sandi's encouragement during a match. She hasn't attended a single game since being released from hospital midway through 2009, and has followed the 20-year-old's rise on Manly's left-hand wing from a rented house in Rooty Hill.

    It began with his NRL debut against St George Illawarra back in round four - a two-minute cameo featuring no touches or tackles.

    "He didn't even let me know about it," Sandi reveals.

    "I found out when I was watching TV.

    "But it didn't matter how long he was on the field. He made it that night and I don't really know what else to say.

    "I'm just so grateful that Jorge got that opportunity."

    Like so many of their emotions, the feeling is mutual.

    For Taufua, to again speak with Sandi is priceless after months of agonising silence following her collapse.

    "My life just froze," he says.

    "I didn't know what to do. Mum has always been the rock of our family.

    "She's our captain.

    "She wasn't enjoying it in hospital. She couldn't talk at first, which was hard because I could tell she could still understand what I was saying to her. She would just get emotional, because she couldn't get the words out."

    Her loss of speech and mobility plunged the family - including Sandi's husband Dave and their daughter Liana - into a nomadic existence.

    At one point they lived in a room behind the Prospect Hotel, where Taufua sold crates of beer and bottles of wine to supplement his meagre Toyota Cup income at Parramatta. He was then forced to accept a zero-dollar base contract at Manly last year after the Eels cut ties because they couldn't convince his stocky 102kg frame to play second row.

    But just this week - after posting a staggering 513 running metres, 25 tackle busts and two tries over the past fortnight - Taufua was treated to a pair of firsts that illustrate just how far he's come.

    "When I got home on Monday, the neighbour yelled-out: 'Hey Jorge, good game on the weekend'," Taufua says.

    "He's never spoken to us before that. Not a single word.

    "And then on my way to training on Tuesday morning, a young woman came up to me and asked for a photo in the city.

    "That's never happened before either."

    The Kodak moment took place behind Wynyard station, the mid-point of Taufua's mammoth two-hour train and bus ride to Narrabeen.

    Now getting back to her assertive best, Sandi rises before dawn to ensure he gets to Rooty Hill station on time for the 6am city service.

    Nevertheless, she still cannot quite muster the confidence to watch him play live just yet.

    "I don't like the crowds," she said. "I can't do it."

    For now. But should Manly win through to next weekend's grand final, Sandi is likely to change her mind - particularly in light of a promise from ANZ Stadium officials to make the occasion a day to remember.

    "Whether or not mum comes to the game, I always leave it up to her," Taufua says.

    "In the end, it was not really my dream to play rugby league as a kid and now I just want to earn enough money to get my parents their own house.

    "I just want to look after mum and make her life easier."

    Let's hope that the Lady can attend her first GF to see her amazingly talented son blitz the opposition:angel:
    • Like Like x 1
    • Berkeley_Eagle

      Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

      +2,125 /14
      **Get the Title right it's Jorge not Jose

      Great read though
      • Like Like x 2
      • HappilyManly

        HappilyManly MWTS Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

        +19,027 /367
        His moniker is - Jose Taufua ‏@yo_jorgetaufua - hence the 'legend' in the title:p

        His nickname reminds me of this great 70's movie:
      • globaleagle

        globaleagle Je saisis mon chapeau. Staff Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

        +13,332 /117
        Agreed, a great read.

        Thanks for posting!
      • Garts

        Garts Well-Known Member

        +844 /25
        Great read. But he is crap and should be sacked, I have no idea why we signed him.

        FYI, I am being sarcastic.
      • voicefromthehill

        voicefromthehill Well-Known Member Premium Member

        +1,608 /13
        What's not to like about this guy!
      • the mauler

        the mauler Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

        +1,886 /30
        Can't believe someone's written something positive about Manly. The journo might find himself out of a job if he keeps that up.
      • EagleRock40

        EagleRock40 Well-Known Member

        +211 /4
        Great read, and lets hope the club can look after him with a better deal than he's currently on. I read somewhere last week that his manager had several clubs enquiring about his current contract situation.
        • Like Like x 1
        • Mals

          Mals Well-Known Member Premium Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

          +1,651 /39
          I prefer the phonetic pronunciation -> Hor-hay!

          Taufua is having a fantastic debut season & doing his Mum & family proud! Keep it up Hor-hay!
        • MadMarcus

          MadMarcus Local Lunatic 2017 Tipping Competitor

          +8,378 /74
          What a machine. Hopefully the family can make their way across to the northern beaches as Jorge's income increases.
        • Bradza

          Bradza Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

          +790 /9
          I've always thought he was a very serious young man and that story explains why. He is yet another young player at Manly that proves it is possible to be a good player and still be very polite and respectful. He has obviously been well raised and is a credit to his family. They make me very proud of our club when compared to some other young first graders and NYC players.

          Stay focused this week Jorgey and let's have your Mum witness a grand final win live.
          • Like Like x 1
          • mozgrame

            mozgrame Well-Known Member

            +5,118 /51
            Excellent read. Good luck to Jorge's mum for the future, and keep hammering Jorge. You are the man!
          • MWSE

            MWSE Well-Known Member

            +335 /2
            Just goes to show that character is a key consideration when recruiting players. Buhrer comes to mind as well. Whilst getting rid of the JWH type of players.
            • Like Like x 2
            • MK Eagle

              MK Eagle Well-Known Member

              +247 /0
              Scary part he is only getting better!!
              There was a run against the Cowgirls he charged into 3 of them & burst through. The week before when he ran 85 metres he ran an angle inside his own 22m line & stepped Barba who finally caught him 10 out. Also his defence has improved both physically & technically as the season has progressed.
              Has become an overnight fan favourite - wait till he gets a hat-trick in the 2012 GF!!!
            • Eagles 78

              Eagles 78 Member

              +12 /0
              What a great story & read & …

              What was really nice Jorge getting the Channel 9 Man of the Match last week !

              It is very rare for a winger to get MOM (and Semi !) but he thoroughly deserve it !

              Did you see him come back into the dressing room after the Cowboys game with the envelop and all the players clapping and the whole team with big smiles on their faces.

              His contract has been upgraded in the new deal for 2013 & 14, but what the NRL must do is allow a club to top up a player’s contract if on the lower tier contract and that player is playing NRL first grade on a CONTINUOUS basis. Clubs can’t do that if hitting the salary cap and most clubs hit the cap each year.

              What I say each club has an allowance of say additional $200k to $300k (bonus pool) to only go to a lower tier players contracts and ONLY if they player plays continuous NRL 1st grade on that lower based contract.

              We had the same problem with DCE in 2011. So each club can go over the cap if paying out those bonuses (they need to apply to the NRL on each case), but can only pay this smallish Bonus pool to only your lowered tier contracted players ON AS NEED BASIS (but that is capped).

              C'mon the NRL?
            • eagle-rock08

              eagle-rock08 Active Member

              +70 /0
              But don't forget it was pointed out he came from Can(t)berra and lives in maggpie territory.

              That'll probably save the journo from getting sacked.
            • BOZO

              BOZO Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

              +7,356 /385
              Great story . I am so happy for Taufua and his family and very proud to be a Manly supporter !!!
            • stoodamire

              stoodamire Well-Known Member

              +295 /5
              "In the end, it was not really my dream to play rugby league as a kid and now I just want to earn enough money to get my parents their own house."

              Hmm, does that mean he won't have the drive to win when it comes down to the crunch?

              He will leave Manly if the money is better elsewhere ala T-Rex?
            • The Who

              The Who Well-Known Member Premium Member

              +7,250 /173
              Inspirational story, and underlines how much talent goes undiscovered. Parra must be kicking themselves. They let this guy go and yet fork out a reported $850,000 for Hoppa Jnr because he had made a name for himself at Manly.
              I wonder if their 'talent' spotter got sacked. Ditto the one from Penrith who let Sandor Earl go to Canberra.
            • eagles2win

              eagles2win Well-Known Member

              +494 /0
              The club wanted to keep JWH.

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