Jacob Saifiti said he broke down with emotion after realising his dream of playing for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues this season, and he shared the joy recently with a young Newcastle fan who was doing it tough after sending him a signed sky blue jersey.
The Rugby League Report posted on Facebook that Saifiti got in touch with Newcastle fan Felicity Garland to see if could send a few things to her son Riley who is battling leukaemia. Jacob and his twin brother Daniel got to know the family during a club visit by the Newcastle Knights to the children’s wards.
“For as long as I can remember my family has been a born and bred Newcastle Knights family,” Felicity said.
“Last week Jacob got in contact with me and asked if he could send a few small things to Riley to cheer him up after his surgery. Today we opened up his parcel. HOLY MOLY. A few small things?!
“Riley is now the proud owner of a signed jersey from the Knights, Jacob's NRL, NSW Blues and State of Origin signed jersey and hat, and a pair of his boots… also signed!! What?! These things mean so much to Riley who has now stated he’s never taking his jersey off!
“Thank you SO MUCH to Jacob Saifiti, Daniel Saifiti & Knights for doing this for our boy. So incredible to know a team that we have so much love and support for, has given so much love and support back!”
Jacob was part of the extended squad for the NSW Blues in Games One and Three but was elevated to the starting side for the decider after Jordan McLean injured his hamstring.
He said of receiving the call-up from NSW coach Brad Fittler, and following in the footsteps of Daniel who has played seven games for the Blues: “I broke down. I called Daniel and was pretty emotional as it’s a very big moment for me and my family.
“He was the first person I called and was over the moon. He knows what I’ve been through and what I’ve overcome to get back here, so he was very happy for me.”
Jacob was presented his NSW jersey by his mother, Bev, and partner Imogen, and turned in a strong game after scoring a try, running for 135 metres including 53 post-contact, and busting six tackles.