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Silktails centre Mitchell Poulter with his father (on left). Photo: Supplied

Centre Mitchell Poulter scored a try in his very first game for the Kaivti Silktails this year, but it was his second that carried a lot more significance.

The 19-year-old crossed in the Round One match in NSWRL Jersey Flegg Cup against the Wests Tigers at Lidcombe Oval in early March.

But three days before the Silktails Round Three game against St George Illawarra at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on 23 March, Poulter unexpectedly lost his father. (Pictured above on left. Photo: Supplied)

He was given the choice to remain at home in Fiji but chose to play and honour his dad.

Last weekend at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Poulter scored his first try on home soil – the Silktails second in the 52-14 loss to the Penrith Panthers.

He looked to the sky for a moment before being embraced warmly by his teammates.

“It motivates me. It gives me strength to work hard for my football and just to give my best in my general life too,” Poulter told describing his father’s personal legacy.

“That try I did think of him – I felt he had my back. I hope he’s there again for my next game.”

The Silktails are still searching for their maiden Jersey Flegg win in 2024, after competing in the Leagues Clubs Australia Ron Massey Cup for the past four years.

The five losses so far have not been easy on the players or coaching staff, but Poulter says there is still a strong determination among the squad.

“We are going to stick together. We’re trying really hard to get our first win but it seems difficult … like it’s just out of reach but we’re close,” he said.

“Our execution on some of our sets really works. But it’s not there often enough.

“I just want everyone to know we’re trying our best.”

Tomorrow (Saturday 20 April) the Silktails face South Sydney for the second time this season after a close 20-14 Round Two loss in Lautoka.

This time the Rabbitohs have home advantage at Erskineville Oval and coach Wes Naiqama has introduced some new faces after the 38-point loss to Penrith.

They have lost prop Tevita Vukicea to a left leg injury, but regained back rower Fenton Williams from the rehab ward.

Fullback Brandon Saun, utility Senivalati Vunibola., and centre Mosese Taramecegu have been dropped to the bench.

Poulter has kept his starting position throughout as he tries to make his way in Rugby League, choosing not to follow many of his fellow Fijian athletes graduating from high school to rugby union.

“Because I wanted to taste Rugby League more,” Poulter said.

“Then I got the opportunity to come to the Kaiviti Silktails and I knew I had the chance to be a professional player.

“That might let me move to a another team, a new competition, a new environment as I go forward.”

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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