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Timana Tahu: Pace, Powerhouse, Dual International

In terms of athletes, they don't come much more pure than Timana Tahu.

After all, the man was a dual international and one of the most naturally-talented outside backs to ever lace on a boot.

Tahu's journey began way back in the streets of St Kilda in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, where he grew up playing AFL in winter and cricket in Summer, as well as a lot of basketball in Newcastle.

With parents from north of the border in New South Wales, Tahu took up rugby league when he attended a Hunter Region zone trial because he wanted to get out of a day at school. He borrowed a friends boots for the trial because he didn't have any of his own.

At the trial, Tahu was so dominant that he received contract offers from both the Knights and the now-defunct Hunter Mariners.

Tahu made his debut a few years later in Round 12 of 1999. He scored his first try in just his second game, a 24-8 win over North Queensland.

Just one year later, in 2000, Tahu became a mainstay on the right edge of the Knights and scored 20 tries, the most of any player that season.

This was a team that included names such as the Johns brothers, Mark Hughes, Robbie O'Davis, Darren Albert and Adam MacDougall. But none of them came close to Tahu's total.

But it was 12 months later where Tahu scored the most important four pointer of his career, not that anyone knew its significance at the time.

With the Knights 24-6 up in the 2001 Grand Final, Tahu crossed with an incredible try in the south western corner of Stadium Australia to extend the Newcastle lead by four points.

At the time, it seemed purely academic and the icing of the cake in a dominant performance. However, it was so much more.

Parramatta launched a stirring comeback, and Tahu's try was ultimately the difference in the 30-24 win.

His consistency and x-factor saw him become a rep footy regular, notching a number of appearances for Australia and New South Wales.

This, combined with his near-unstoppable combination with Matt Gidley at all levels of the game, made Tahu one of the hottest pieces of property in the game.

His 'slam dunk' post-try celebration quickly became as iconic as his powerful charges and try scoring strike, which literally sat at an average of one per game in the 2002 (21 tries from 21 games), 2003 (14/14) and 2004 (8/8) seasons.

It wasn't until his move to Parramatta in 2005 that the numbers started to go down.

Tahu spent three seasons down south before dropping a bombshell decision, moving to Rugby Union in 2008.

He quickly earned similar admiration in the 15-a-side game, becoming a dual international with the Wallabies.

He returned two years later with one season stints at Parramatta and Penrith, before a homecoming to the Hunter in 2012.

He returned to the Origin team in 2010, proving he'd lost little talent in his cross-code journey.

Lacking some of the burning speed he boasted early in his career, Tahu adapted to become a strong, powerful centre who even spent some time in the forward pack coming off the bench.

To this day, he is still regarded as one of the Knights' best ever outside backs and his lethal combination with Gidley is unlikely to ever be forgotten.

For the hero of 2001, that's the way it should stay.