AS BIG brother Lama looks to earn a new contract at the Sydney Roosters, Tala Tasi is hoping to crack the Ipswich Jets Queensland Cup squad in 2013.
After a year spent heading back and forth to Sydney to play in the Roosters' SG Ball team, Tala has committed himself to the Jets for a season so he can get a second year of university studies under his belt.
After that he will consider returning to the Roosters, if a better offer doesn't eventuate.
The decision to further his studies and remain in Ipswich with the Jets is largely at the insistence of his mother.
"She wants us to do something so we have a back-up," the education student said.
Tala was an Australia A schoolboys representative in the back row in 2011 and played in the back row for the Roosters SG Ball team last year.
But his pace has convinced Jets coaches Shane and Ben Walker he is a centre in the making.
"They're trying to train me up in the backs," Tala said.
"I'm going to try and crack the Queensland Cup side. I've had a few talks with the Walker brothers. They said if I keep training to the best of my ability, I could crack the side this year."
He will face stiff competition, particularly as established pair Donald Malone and Brendon Marshall are still playing.
Marshall may be reaching the end of his career, but he still has the wheels to keep Tala at bay - just.
"He's still got the speed," Tala said. "We've had a few challenges."
While Tala is quick for a big man, he can't hold a candle to the fastest man in the Jets squad, fullback Javarn White.
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