I had a Bad Pre-Season: Vave
With 95 NRL games to his credit and at 28 years of age, Siosaia Vave is one of the oldest in the Wentworthville Magpies outfit – which means he knows exactly where he needs to improve.
The four-time Tonga representative was a notable omission from the Parramatta Eels' NRL outfit, with whom he spent most of 2017, when the Round 1 team was named in March. Since then, Vave has continued to ply his trade for the Magpies, despite a number of selections on the Eels' extended bench.
The relegation to the Intrust Super Premiership, Vave says, was caused by a slow start to 2018."
"My football I don't think is the problem, it's just getting around the park. NRL is real fast, so I've had maybe the last month or so here and I'm doing my best to try and strip some weight. Hopefully from there I can put my best foot forward for NRL."
The honest admission speaks of Vave's positive attitude, and he remains determined to return to the top grade. Playing in a side which has recently hit form, however, the front-rower knows he has some healthy competition.
"Obviously you've got to have a good mindset to come back and play well," Vave adds. "If you don't you'll be kicking stones most of the season – and it's a long season. Any time you can get called up and do your best... hopefully when we get called up we don't come back.
"At the same time, there's a lot of blokes here pushing forward for other spots. Not just 'Kingy' (Cameron King) and 'Hoffy' (Josh Hoffman), they had an awesome game but Marata (Niukore) and also Dane Aukafolau.
"I think all the boys that come back from (training) full-time, they're doing a real good job."
Vave, alongside the likes of King, Hoffman and Kane Evans in recent weeks, has helped return the Magpies to form after a slow start to 2018. Their third consecutive win came in convincing fashion, as the Nathan Cayless-coached side toppled Western Suburbs off the top of the Intrust Super Premiership ladder – and Vave bagged a late try for his troubles.
"It was the first time I think we completed over 75 per cent for most of the game," Vave explained, "so we're happy with that and we got the two points over a good team.
"It's pretty easy when we're not tackling as much, but the boys did a good job to get us there. They hit me a few times close to the line and I got one at the end.
"We didn't go too well at the start of the season but now we're starting to find our straps and we're starting to play for each other."
Vave has again been named for the Magpies as they prepare for their next challenge: the third-placed Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground, kicking off at 6.45pm (AEST) on Saturday.