This week for 'Forever Green: Where are they now?' we caught up with our former player Sione Faumuina who represented the club in the 2001 season.
Canberra Raiders #218
What do you do for work now?
I'm a speaker, a trainer and a coach and run my own speaking and training business. That was off the back of launching my autobiography almost two years ago now. I work with individuals and businesses around mindset.
When I launched my book, I got asked to speak at an event and share my story in October 2016. That was the start to my speaking and it just went from there where I'd say yes to anything basically. It's been a really good learning curve and helping me get to where I am now as a public speaker.
What's your favourite memory as a Raider?
One of the games that really stood out for me was against the Bulldogs at Homebush and we won but I think it was one of my best games for the Raiders. But a memory that stands out would have to be the young guys that all came into grade together like Michael and Joel Monaghan and the friendships that I formed through the club.
What did it mean to you to wear the Raiders jersey?
That was still a bit of a surreal moment because growing up and watching the Raiders during the 1980's, and then to put on the jersey and be coached by Mal was unreal. I had to pinch myself because growing up, rugby league was huge in New Zealand and the kids used to all look up to guys like Mal, Mullins and Nagas. I did find it very difficult being away from home at such a young age.
Who was your favourite teammate?
Brent Kite and I were close during my time at the Raiders even though he didn't play grade at the club. Obviously, Kitey went on to make a name for himself at St George and Manly but we were really close. Greg Wolgramm played a fair few games in 2000 and we both stayed in Queanbeyan. Then the young boys, Terry Martin and the Monaghan brothers pretty much made up my little crew
Do you keep in touch with many of your former teammates?
I still keep in touch with Greg, not so much Kitey. Ruben Wiki is one that I keep in touch with whenever I'm back in New Zealand at any kind of footy function.
What was your funniest moment as a Raider?
The funniest moment involves Lesley Vainikolo. We were at training and he wrote something up on the whiteboard and it was about Mal but it was in permanent marker. Mal had a big soft spot for Les but Les was terrified because he couldn't rub it off. We all rolled in for the team meeting and there was this thing about Mal's eyebrows with a little drawing next to it and we all thought 'what the hell's that'!
I think Mal saw the funny side of it and once that happened it made Les a bit calmer.
Do you have any advice for younger players?
Rugby league is a great opportunity and a vehicle that you can use to achieve your life goals and playing in the NRL shouldn't be your only goal.