Dave Fa'alogo hoping for perfect birthday present
DAVID Fa'alogo had his eye on the Ipswich A Grade Grand Final all season, and for good reason.
Tomorrow the former NRL star and 2008 World Cup winner for the Kiwis will lead the Fassifern Bombers into battle against Goodna on his 37th birthday.
It will be his last game of rugby league in a stellar career which saw him play 198 NRL games with South Sydney and Newcastle.
Throw in 19 Tests for New Zealand and Samoa and 57 career matches with Huddersfield and it becomes clear that Fa'alogo has made his mark on the rugby league world.
September 9 will be a fitting date for Fa'alogo to bring down the curtain.
"I've known for a while," he said of the September 9 significance.
"I looked at it early in the season and noticed the GF fell on my birthday and I didn't want to put too much pressure on anyone.
"I didn't bring it up at all.
"But playing a grand final on my birthday will top it off. I can't wait."
Fa'alogo has done a lot in the game, but premierships have proven elusive.
"It has been a funny sort of career for me because I haven't played in many GFs," he said.
"I played in the World Cup final, which we won back in 2008.
"That is the highest level of final game that I have played in.
"Other than that I have won championships back in Auckland with my senior club, which was the Mount Albert Lions.
"That was in the Bartercard Cup as it was in those days.
"But I haven't won anything else in my professional career."
Fa'alogo played in only three NRL finals, all for Newcastle in 2013.
"The closest we got at South Sydney was in 2007," he said.
"At the Knights, we got one game from the grand final, but lost to the Roosters back in 2013 when they went on to win it.
"That is the closest I ever got to an NRL grand final."
Fa'alogo is not lost to the game and has a role with the Ipswich Jets in development.
"That gets me out and about and gives me the opportunity to give back to the schools," he said.
"Every time I go to the local primary schools and take them through the drills... just the smiles on their faces are priceless.
"I'm loving it and I'm enjoying it."