Daniel Tupou dreams to alongside Israel Folau for Tonga, so was rightfully disappointed when his potential return to rugby league were shut down by the RLIF.
The prospect of playing alongside Folau for the Mate Ma’a excited Tupou, who he idolised growing up.
Watch the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals on a Kayo 14 day free trial with every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. Or, Telstra customers get $10 off Kayo per month for 12 months. Stream instantly!
“Hearing about that was awesome. I’ve always looked up to him as a player because of the talent he brings to any team he plays in,” Tupou told AAP.
“I was pretty stoked to hear. It’d be a dream to play with him. “I just don’t know where it’s at right now.”
Joining the NRL two years after Folau’s exit, Tupou saw him as a role model who he based his game around.
“We had the same strengths, similar height, so I tried to base my game around him because he could jump, man,” the 28-year-old said.
“Coming through, of course he was an idol growing up.
“All that stuff he could do on the field, even in union.
“Man, I’d love to put on the same jersey as him.”
But Tupou remains solely focused on the Roosters and helping the team win back-to-back premierships.
“I love (Trent Robinson) as a coach and as a bloke,” Tupou said. “He’s taught me so much, got me out of my shell. I’m pretty comfortable under my own skin when I’m around him.
“My manager was telling me about (the offers), but I just told him I didn’t want to go anywhere else.
“Being around the club, the culture that it’s built, I couldn’t see myself anywhere else at the moment.”