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20 Stars for 2023 | Samuela Fainu

Samuela Fainu, 18, is a skilful young forward turning heads at Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

Fainu, whose younger brother Latu Fainu has already caught the attention of local fans after inking a long-term extension last year, also re-committed in 2021 and has wasted no time in finding his feet in the NSWRL’s 2022 competitions.

He was named in the extended squad for the NSW Under 19s for the return of the junior representative Origin clash in June, but despite missing out on the final 17, he is well and truly on the radar for future selections.

With height, agility and noticeable leg speed for his size – very much in the mould of Sea Eagles first-grader Haumole Olakau’atu – Fainu also has the versatility to play both on the edge and in the middle of the forward pack.

He started at prop in the 2021 UNE Harold Matthews Cup-winning side, including scoring a second-half try in the Grand Final win over Parramatta Eels.

Fainu earned a promotion to Manly Warringah’s SG Ball Cup (Under 19s) team in 2022, making seven appearances for two tries, two try assists, four line-break assists, 13 offloads and 150 tackles (21.4 per game).

Fainu pushed ahead to the Jersey Flegg Cup (Under 21s) later in the year whilst still eligible for Under 19s, playing seven games with three tries including a double on debut in Round 14.

There’s no doubt the future looks bright at the Sea Eagles, with Olakau’atu, Josh Schuster, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu and Tolu Koula progressing though the grades to make an impact in recent seasons. Next year it could be Samuela Fainu who looms large on the horizon at Brookvale.

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