Frank-Paul Nuuausala has revealed that receiving the ANZAC Medal for his Man of the Match performance in the 30-22 victory over the reigning premiers, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, will go down as one of the most memorable moment of his illustrious career.
Nuuausala was at his destructive best against the Bunnies, running for 99 valuable metres and registering 18 bruising tackles in the centre of the field, to inspire his younger team mates onto new heights.
The former New Zealand international was presented with the ANZAC Medal at the conclusion of the game by Cairns RSL President Dave Clifton, and was profoundly moved by the occasion.
“It was a surprise to me to get Man of the Match because it was hard to pick out any stand outs from what was a good team performance, but it was such a big honour to receive that medal on a very special occasion,” Nuuausala said with pride.
“The ANZAC Round means a lot to me. I was lucky enough to play in a few for the Chooks when we versed the Dragons and it’s great to be able to show my respect to the fallen and to the people who gave up their lives so that we could have our freedom. It’s an awesome experience to be involved in.
“It was a special moment for me to receive the award on a weekend where we commemorate all of those soldiers that sacrificed their lives for us to be able to live the way we do today.
“It was a proud moment in my career.”
Further to his ANZAC Medal, Nuuausala also received a specially designed triangular ANZAC coin from Victoria Cross recipient Daniel Keighran.
The players were fortunate enough to hear from Keighran at Canberra Airport before they departed for Cairns and Nuuausala believes that the every player and member of staff present took a great deal of inspiration and admiration away from the experience.
CLICK HERE to see the presentation by V.C. Daniel Keighran.
“That was another special thing for me and another massive honour,” he said. “Hearing from Daniel at the airport before we left for Cairns was incredible. His story gave you goosebumps.
“He’s inspirational the way in which he put his life on the line for his mates and his country. We’re not soldiers and playing rugby league is not a life or death situation but we definitely took a lot out of his speech in regards to mateship and brotherhood. It showed on the weekend how inspired we were from his speech; when the game was on the line and it was tough out there, we hung in for each other and our character showed.
“When I finish my career I will definitely reflect highly on receiving those two awards.”
Nuuausala has played in the traditional ANZAC Day match between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons numerous times and believes that the Canberra Raiders thoroughly deserve to be included in commemorating the day given the city’s ties to the War Memorial and the Defence Force.
“It would be very special for Canberra to host an ANZAC Day match and I hope it happens whilst I’m here at the club because I’d love to be involved in it,” Nuuausala said.
“Canberra is Australia’s capital city and the War Memorial is here along with the Australian Defence Force base. I’d like to think that there will be an ANZAC fixture in Canberra in the next couple of years because it would be a big thing for this city and something that the club would be extremely proud to be involved with.”
CLICK HERE to purchase one of the ANZAC jerseys that was worn by the players. All proceeds go to Soldier On, Legacy and the Woden RSL Sub-Branch.