Make or break time for Roosters' Tasi

Sydney Roosters player Lama Tasi.
Sydney Roosters player Lama Tasi. David Nielsen

LAMA Tasi announced himself to the rugby league world when he nearly knocked out Greg Bird with a monster shoulder charge in 2011.

It was during one of nine NRL games the rookie Sydney Rooster played during the season, which saw the imposing forward named in the Emerging Maroons squad at the end of the year.

A year later Roosters teammate and fellow Ipswich product Martin Kennedy is in the 2013 emerging Maroons squad, but Tasi isn't.

"2012 was all right," the strapping 22-year-old former Goodna junior said.

"It was a bit up and down.

"I found it hard to find a bit of consistency. The week-in, week-out grind of the NRL takes a toll."

It is not entirely surprising, given Tasi's youth, inexperience and the seemingly inevitable second-year syndrome.

"I'm still learning heaps," he said. "It was my first proper year in first grade.

"It was a roller coaster, but I was very grateful for the opportunity."

Tasi finished the 2012 season on the bench for the Roosters and while coaches will say the four on the bench are as important as the starting 13, players don't necessarily believe it.

So Tasi is driven by the desire to regain a starting spot at the Roosters.

"I'm still making a name for myself," he said.

"But the biggest thing is getting a starting spot."

"You pick your best 13 first."

With the weapon that first brought him fame, the shoulder charge, now banned, he knows he has work to do.

Tasi is very much a stand-and-deliver type of player, loving the shoulder charge and preferring to run straight at defenders.

But knows he has to broaden his game to succeed and is working on it accordingly.

"It just means I've got to work on the wrestle a bit more," he said of his tackling technique.

"I'm also working on tipping the ball before the line, instead of just tucking it under my wing and running."

The end goal is to earn himself a new contract after his current one expires at the end of the 2013 season.

"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he said.

"My biggest concern at the moment is staying in the Roosters top 17 and getting a new contract.

"I don't want to go anywhere else. It's too good a club to leave.

"There's exciting times ahead."

Tasi is enjoying the structures new coach Trent Robinson has put in place.

"He's heaps different (to former coach Brian Smith)," Tasi said.

"Structure is a big thing.

"He's got us getting back to basics and what we're good at, instead of working away from our strengths."

 

FAMILY GAME: Tasi Brothers Tala, Lama and Sani relax at their Goodna family home on New Year’s Eve.
FAMILY GAME: Tasi Brothers Tala, Lama and Sani relax at their Goodna family home on New Year’s Eve. David Nielsen

That might mean less razzle-dazzle from the Roosters in 2013 but Tasi hopes it means more wins.

"Last year, when we were under pressure and needed to win, we threw the ball around," he said.

"We're going back to just finishing our sets off and getting our kicks in."

Brothers in League

Lama Tasi

  • Age: 22
  • Club: Sydney Roosters

Tala Tasi

  • Age: 18
  • Club: Ipswich Jets

Sani Tasi

  • Age: 16
  • Club: Roosters Academy (Ipswich Grammar School)

Topics:  emerging maroons, lama tasi, nrl, sydney roosters



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