Veteran front rower David Fa’alogo is set to play his 50th match with the Newcastle Knights on Sunday when the side takes on the Wests Tigers.
“It’s a great achievement for any player, but for myself, I’m pretty stoked,” Fa’alogo told Knights TV in the lead up to the game at Hunter Stadium.
The 34-year-old kicked off his career with the South Sydney Rabbitohs where he played for six years before a two-year stint with the Huddersfield Giants in the English Super League.
“I came to Newcastle off the back of playing in the UK, which was a great experience, so to get the opportunity to come back to the NRL and play for Newcastle has been awesome,” he said.
Reflecting on his time at the Club, Fa’alogo has plenty of high-points and has most relished being a part of the unique culture of the Club and town.
“It’s great place with great people,” he said.
“Over the last two-and-a-half years, it’s been a good experience for me because I get to see a lot of young players coming through.
“When Wayne (Bennett) was here, he had a massive influence on me coming, so it was great to play under Wayne.
"Now (Rick) Stoney has the reigns, we are going okay at the moment but just have to pick our game up a bit and get a bit of momentum going.
“It’s been an awesome journey up until now and my 50th on Sunday, it will be nice to celebrate it with a win.”
As one of the side’s seasoned senior members, Fa’alogo takes pleasure in observing young talent develop and succeed at the Club.
“It’s been awesome and is part of the reason why I’ve hung around for a little bit longer, to see a lot of young talent coming through,” he said.
Emerging players like Pat Vaivai and Joseph Tapine, who have become regular faces on the Knights as well Adam Clydsdale are just some of the players Fa’alogo has enjoyed watching grow.
“There’s a lot of players working hard in NSW Cup trying to get a start,” he said.
“I’m sure they will this year or next year.
“It’s nice to mix it up with the young boys coming through and it sort of gives you a sense of how to play at your best and to have fun at training too.”
The 2015 season has also seen the injection of new blood in the Knights’ forward pack with players like Tariq Sims and Jack Stockwell joining the red and blue ranks.
“It’s always nice getting players from other clubs,” Fa’alogo said.
“With Jack and Tariq coming from pretty good clubs. It’s a bonus knowing what they’ve learned over their time there and them bringing it to our club.
“They are well-rounded and professional guys. They bring a bit of enthusiasm and energy in the games we have played so far and I’m sure we’ll see a lot more from them.”
Fa’alogo is confident the Knights can turn their current streak on its head to earn two points against the Tigers.
“It’s a challenge every week in the NRL. For us as well, it’s more so a bigger challenge because we have to turn our season around,” he said.
“We want to see ourselves playing well again and getting some confidence and just getting a buzz in and around the Club and the town as well.
“We want to do our best and hopefully bring home a win.”