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20 stars for 2020 | Sione Fainu

The younger of brother of Manase Fainu, Sione is making waves of his own.

NSW Under-18s coach Michael Ennis described Fainu as a really modern-day front-row or middle forward who has got beautiful subtleties with his ball playing. These comments were well and truly justified after Fainu was awarded the NSW Under-18s State Player of the Year the Brad Fittler Medal Awards night in September.

The accolade came after NSW’s 34-12 loss to Queensland in July this year, where Fainu notched six tackle busts, 56.9 post-contact metres, averaged 15 hit-ups and totalled 164 running metres.

The skilful Fainu also bagged himself a try in the match. NSW were trailing by 12 in the second half when they were gifted a penalty on Queensland’s line.

Jayden Sullivan had a run and put on a step but was tackled as he came back towards the posts. Fainu playing prop, sees his opportunity and jumps into dummy half, charges towards the line and manages to get the ball down for a try, despite there being five Queensland defenders in his way.

The damaging ball runner also played eight games in Manly’s run to the SG Ball Grand Final in May against the Illawarra Steelers.

This was another high-pressure game where he stepped up for his team and scored a try when they needed to find their way back into the contest. Just before half-time Fainu once again used his incredible strength to power his way over the line.

The young gun also led the way for Westfields Sports High School to be crowned state champions with a 26-14 win against Patrician Brothers' College, Blacktown in the NRL Schoolboy Cup Grand Final in September.

More recently, Fainu participated in a two-day camp in preparation for Origin next year at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence. He was named in the Future Blues squad, alongside three of his fellow Sea Eagles in Ben Trbojevic, Kaeo Weekes and Tolu Koula.

Fainu will look to make his first grade debut next year alongside the likes of fellow forwards Martin Tapau and Addin Fonua-Blake, players who are sure to help this already talented player reach his full potential.