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Quiet achiever is named as captain

The quiet achiever among the CABE NSW Under 19s men’s team Samuela Fainu will be one of the loudest voices at Kayo Stadium tonight after head coach Andrew Ryan named him captain yesterday.

At the jersey presentations on the eve of the U19s State of Origin game, Ryan’s fellow True Blues Shaun Timmins and Josh Jackson presented Blues jumpers to the backs and forwards respectively.

Ryan held the last jersey in his hands to announce his skipper after he called up former Origin and Australian prop forward Mark O’Meley, who spoke about “effort, attitude and being there for your mate” when facing the Maroons.

Fainu has that chance with both his talent and his physical presence – 192cm and 108kg.

But Ryan has observed the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles prop-back rower’s other efforts around his teammates this week.

“He was with us in camp last year but the moment he came in this year he’s shown leadership everywhere, whether it’s been stretching, doing his extras, or out on the field in our sessions,” Ryan told

CABE NSW U19s players Samuela Fainu and Josh Feledy
CABE NSW U19s players Samuela Fainu and Josh Feledy

“In some of our tougher sessions through the week he has just stood up.

“Even little things like making sure all the boys got their bags at the airport, or always waiting for all his teammates … just all those little things he keeps ticking over.

“He’s not the type to look for any praise – it’s just part of who he is.”

Fainu is a man of few words but he looked straight at his teammates when he accepted his jersey.

“I can’t wait to run out with you – let’s get the job done,” he said.

Fainu is not the only sizeable forward in Ryan’s pack. Canberra Raiders Jake Clydsdale joins him in the front row at 199cm, while Newcastle Knights lock Myles Martin is 193cm.

“Size is important but we have to be mobile a little as well,” Ryan said.

“We’ve only had a handful of training sessions but they’ve just jumped into it straight away and connected really quickly on the field.

“Our outside backs have some size and strength there too because we’re going to need them to carry the ball strongly as well.”

Ryan has the 2022 U19s shield to defend, after a dominant 32-4 result at Leichhardt Oval last year.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure,” he said.

“We’ve had a great week preparation-wise. It doesn’t always transfer to the game but I feel like from the perspective of the players and my coaching staff no-one could have done any more.”

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