Timana Tahu

Over the Black Dot
14 Aug 2020 - 4:43 PM  UPDATED 14 Aug 2020 - 4:43 PM

Aukuso Junior Paulo serving time for drug bust

This week former Parramatta Eels forward Aukuso Junior Paulo was jailed for 17 years over a failed plot to acquire and supply 900 kilograms of cocaine.

Although it was agreed that Paulo had a central role, Judge Anthony Townsend deemed he was not a primary player in the incident. He also remarked that Paulo, an NRL player who retired early due to a career ending injury was a good prospect of rehabilitation and has begun his first year studying a Bachelor of Science and Psychology. This brings me to my point.

Kids as young as 15-years-old are exposed to the fast life of Professional Sports. The money is fast, sponsorships, apparel and special guest appearances. People don’t understand professional athletes unless you have been exposed to this world as a player, friend or family member.

When you grow up in the sporting world the expectations, and cutthroat industry is not like your regular 9-5 job. You are constantly being pushed to the limit, you are judged on your performance not just on game day but at training, in the gym, doing video analysis and promos for sponsors. There is hardly anytime to have a “second job” outside of professional sports. When you suffer injuries or on the back end of your career, you do feel a bit lost and think whats next.

I played with Junior in 2005 and it breaks my heart to see an ex-teammate get 17 years behind bars. I want to let people know that Junior was a great friend and I don’t judge him on making a bad decision. Everyone makes bad decisions in life and when we do make those bad decisions, we don’t realise that it effects the people around us that we love.

Junior was a tough forward who would always get us on the front foot. He was a hard trainer committed to the team and never wanted to let his team mates down. Off the field he was a gentle giant. He always had his mates back, and not only his team mates back, but also looked out for our wives when we were out together. He always brought light and was a good friend.

Convid 19 Breaches

Wayne Bennett, Paul Vaughn, Broncos Legend Alfie Langer and Tavita Pangai Jr have all got on Peter V’landys naughty list. Peter has explained that if you are a part of this bubble that breaching the laws can cause a massive effect to the game.

We have seen the first shut down a few months ago: it hurt the game financially and 85% of staff at the NRL got stood down, club land staff were also stood down and there was player salary sacrifices. The game also affected the fans.

Footy brings friends and families together, people use it to bond and as a release from a hard week at work, it is entertainment for the sporting world. It is getting harder for the players and staff with strict restrictions but for our game to keep on going everyone needs to be on board.

Game of the week - Rooster vs Storm

It will sure be another nail-biter with these two powerhouse teams playing on Thursday.

Earlier this year the Melbourne Storm got one up on the Roosters 27-25, but Melbourne have never won against the Roosters at the SCG. The Roosters have a good winning record at this historic ground.

You can never go against the Storm though I’m sure they would have looked at the Raiders vs Roosters match and how the Raiders targeted certain players looking at weaknesses in the team and certain times Roosters switched off. Melbourne loves getting gritty and wait patiently for you to make a mistake and punish you for it.

The Roosters on the other hand will focus on themselves, rather than their opposition.

Roosters have a great system: Big back 5 gets them in good field position, big kick, and the forwards apply defensive pressure to force an error. Both teams have different game tactics and I am looking forward to this blockbuster.

Indigenous round and a couple of big signings for the week
OPINION: Over the Black Dot's Timana Tahu covers a week in footy that has involved a couple of star signings and a weekend ahead that will showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as part of the NRL's Indigenous Round.