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SneakyEel

Juniors
Messages
382
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...y/news-story/bcf5284cd52114f280604e17c0d2e3c8

Really good article on Penisini:

Eels young gun on same path to stardom as Suaalii

— David Riccio


Meet the NRL’s new Golden Boy.

Or should we say, Blue and Golden Boy.

Will Penisini is the 19-year-old Parramatta Eels centre who is on a path that he and close friend, Roosters rising star Joseph Suaalii, first began scribbling into notepads together during their school lunch break as 12 year olds.

“One of the things we have spoken about is inspiring the younger generation,” Penisini says.

Will Penisini and Joseph Suaalii have long been mates.
“Me and Joey have been mates since I was 12 and he was 11. We want to give back to those kids that we were.

“A goal of mine is to be a good, clean player who stays out of trouble off the field. Dad has always impressed that upon me.

“Joey and I are very ambitious. We both kind of knew from a young age that we were going to go far in the game and so we’ve always talked about what we want to do in this game – by playing State of Origin and for our countries together and possibly club football together.

“But also the roles we can play in inspiring the next generation.”

A graduate of the prestigious King’s School in Sydney, Penisini was signed by the Eels on a development contract at 14 – only four years after his first junior league game.

Well-mannered and softly spoken, the young star – who has drawn athletic comparisons with former Test and NSW Origin centre Michael Jennings – still lives at home with his mother Lucy, father Richard and brothers Albert and Richard Jr.

It’s the same family home where Penisini and his brothers were taught by their father to mow the front lawn when they were 10.

It’s the same dishwasher he has been helping unpack each week after footy training since he was a boy.

And it’s inside his same modest bedroom that the handwritten goals of a determined teen remain pinned to the walls.

“His aunty from Ballina came over once and stayed in his bedroom,” Richard said.

“She was in tears when he made his NRL debut because she could still see all his goals written down.

“All we wanted him to do is follow his dreams and we would back him.”

Backing him also, is Parramatta coach Brad Arthur – forever confident the prodigy would not only survive, but thrive after his NRL debut in round 19 in July.

Penisini became the youngest Eel to play in a semi-final in 21 years – since Jamie Lyon in 2000 – when he lined up opposite NSW Origin under-18s roommate and Newcastle centre Bradman Best on Sunday.

Better yet, he starred for the Eels with a performance that included throwing a sensational flick pass to set up winger Blake Ferguson for a four-pointer, being awarded a crucial penalty try and 17 runs for 141 metres, one linebreak and seven tackle busts.

The majority of footy fans – even the image-conscious heavy hitters at the NRL – were learning the hopeful story of Viliami Penisini for the first time.

Others, like the mums and dads standing on the sidelines every Saturday morning watching little Penisini skip, step and dart away for the Rouse Hill Rhinos less than a decade ago, knew this day was coming.

So too, did the NSW Waratahs, having attempted to sign the rugby union schoolboy to a lucrative contract while he was still at high school.

“We are a rugby union family,” Richard said.

“We followed the Wallabies to two World Cups in New Zealand (2011) and England (2015) and were Waratahs members for six years.

“But the pathway and development compared to what the Eels were offering just wasn’t the same.

“We actually started Will in soccer as a boy, like we did all our boys. But when Will was 10, my mate said ‘look at those (thick) legs, get him out of soccer and into league’.

“I went to that first footy training session and asked the coach if he could put Will in B grade so he could learn how to play.

“The coach took a look at him and said ‘he’s not playing second grade, he’s playing in the first team’.

“He made his name very quickly. He was the kid they ended up throwing the ball to.”

Raw skill, abundant talent and awareness on a football field will often carry young footballers through selection in junior representative teams, as Penisini did with the Eels’ Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams, as well as NSW under-16 and 18s and with the King’s School First XV at inside centre.

But few footballers progress to the NRL at the tender age of 19 without mental maturity.

And Richard says the family’s emotional decision to take Penisini out of Fairfield Patrician Brothers high school at the end of Year 7 and enrol him into King’s was defining for his son’s personal growth.

“He didn’t want to go,’’ Richard said.

“He wanted to stay with his friends. But after a couple of months, I was driving home from school and he turned to me and said, ‘Dad, you made the right decision’.

“I just thought there were a few things changing in Will and so we bit the bullet. I just wanted to give him the best.

“I had to leave school when I was a boy to help my mum and dad. So I knew education was important, but also to help develop who they are as a person. A good education gives them an opportunity to find themselves in life.”

Penisini and Suaalii had played rugby union for Sydney West during primary school and it was the Penisini family who helped the Suaaliis enrol Joseph into King’s.

“Once we got into King’s and because we knew that the two boys were so close, we told King’s we’ve got another boy if you want to have a chat with him,’’ Richard said.

“King’s took up the conversation with Joseph from there and our families have remained very close ever since.’’

So much so, Penisini was among the Suaalii family when the young Roosters star made his NRL debut at the SCG earlier this year.

“When we were younger, we always did extra training together,” Penisini said of his close mate and the currently injured Roosters talent.

“Even though he’s one year younger than me, I look up to him as well. We learn off each other. We catch up for lunch, we still text, call and FaceTime each other.

“I’m definitely inspired by his work. Playing against each other was one of our goals. We were hoping we could do it this year. Unfortunately it didn’t end up happening.

“If that day comes, we’ll definitely go after each other, that’s for sure.’’

The relocation of the NRL competition to Queensland has left the 19-year-old from western Sydney unable to walk down the hallway of his home for a chat with his mum or dad, or brothers.

But part of Penisini’s home is with him, everywhere he goes.

“My dad got me and my brothers into writing goals,” Penisini said. “We still do it.

“At the end of the year, we write down our goals, looking into next year and we adjust it and add stuff during the year as well.

“We’d write down everything we wanted to achieve.

“It was a big part of what we did. We’d hang it up in our bedroom, right above our bed and it would have the boxes next to the goals to tick.

“Because I’m away at the moment, I have them written down here on a laptop.

“My goal was to make my NRL debut before the age of 19. I did that.

“I recently had to add the goal of playing in my first finals series.

“I’m adding more goals to that list now.

“Winning the competition with the Eels is 100 per cent one of them.”
 

eels_fan

First Grade
Messages
5,515
Any ticketed member who can’t be in Qld for the GF willing to share their member number & surname so I can get GF tickets?
 

Delboy

First Grade
Messages
6,153
Yeah because an 8 year spoon winning coach who has never made a preliminary final should have no pressure on him at all…………
Gee. That’s a surprising comment from Hiney, maybe a coach that took a basket case board room nightmare team to the finals consistently has to be sacked. Of course, however there are probably a number of clubs that would like that record.

Would if only Hiney would spend some of his fortune on TPAs so competition to build teams like the Roosters , Storm and Broncos would be easy. We have juniors coming through and really good facilities being finalised, the future seems to be more than bleak.
 

hineyrulz

Post Whore
Messages
134,099
Gee. That’s a surprising comment from Hiney, maybe a coach that took a basket case board room nightmare team to the finals consistently has to be sacked. Of course, however there are probably a number of clubs that would like that record.

Would if only Hiney would spend some of his fortune on TPAs so competition to build teams like the Roosters , Storm and Broncos would be easy. We have juniors coming through and really good facilities being finalised, the future seems to be more than bleak.
Gee what a surprising comment from a bloke who’s view point is as biased as anyone on here. At least tell everyone how close you are with the Arthur’s and your opinion is dodgy at best. The rest is just laughable excuses and finger pointing.

If we win Saturday night I think he probably deserves his last year unless Melbourne put 1000 on us otherwise it’s more than fair to be asking questions of the coaching staff and the head coach. 8 seasons and no preliminary finals plus a spoon with just 2 finals wins and Delboy is as pleased as punch. No wonder we have won the most spoons the standards of this club and the fanbase are embarrassing.
 

Rocket man

Juniors
Messages
240
If there was ever an example of a salary cap clean out for a pretty minor issue, it's this.

If the name of the player was Munster (for example) it would have been forgotten by now.

'
His contract would of finished end of October. Apparently wasn't being renewed.
 
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