Former Australian and Samoan representative Reni Maitua has revealed how close he came to quitting rugby league completely after being snubbed by the Rabbitohs' junior system.

A South Sydney junior, Maitua - who went on to play a host of positions across his chequered career - was rated as one of the best young talents in the game at the time.

Picked in the halves for South Sydney's (then under-16) Harold Matthews squad, a year above his age group, a complaint from a parent eventually saw him removed from the squad and told to wait a year before playing representative football.

Speaking on the Unfiltered podcast with Andy Raymond, Maitua revealed it was a "traumatic" experience to be dropped from the squad after being picked, saying he felt he had let his family down, and suggesting it was why he didn't remain with South Sydney when he did break into the NRL.

"Yeah, it was traumatic at the time as a kid. When rugby league is everything, and mum and dad have taken me to every single game growing up - mum is probably one of the craziest supporters - but rugby league was everything," Maitua told Raymond.

"When you are earmarked to be one of the next big things and you get dropped from a side, you feel like you've not only let your family down, but the broader community as well.

"I tried out with the Harold Matthews Shield team. Billy Gretch was the coach and he picked me as the half, a parent complained that I was too young and it went from there.

"It hurt me and I held a resentment against Souths for years after that. It was one of the reasons I didn't sign with Souths when they came back into the competition."

Maitua, who was part of the South Sydney set-up as a junior during some of their darkest years, said he gave footy away after playing through the next pre-season, instead taking up a plumbing apprenticeship before eventually returning to rugby league.

"I did go back and play with Souths though. I gave footy away. I didn't play Matthews or SG Ball. I trained the whole pre-season of SG Ball, and I think before the first trial, I pulled out. I thought 'this isn't for me.' I was too absorbed into the beach life by that point. Rugby league wasn't a priority. I had been playing since I was four, I'd made certain rep teams along the way and dad really pushed me and my siblings hard into sport, and it was a period where I just thought what most teenagers do - they rebel against their parents, society or life and I thought, stuff footy, I don't want to play anymore," he said.

"When I left school, I went into a plumbing apprenticeship. It was something I didn't want to do, but a year into it, I thought plumbing isn't for me so I'll go back and give footy a crack."

The utility would then re-join Souths through their junior system with the club's NRL side still in exile from the competition, and revealed he wound up with three contract offers - the Rabbitohs, Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury Bulldogs.

Despite the Bulldogs providing the lowest offer of the lot, he elected to join Canterbury rather than remain with the Rabbitohs or switching to the Shire.

"Souths at the time were out of the competition, but there was a Flegg side. I played a season for them and we were hopeless, but Braith Anasta sent Mark Hughes out to watch me play. We were playing the Sharks, and I happened to have a pretty good game," Maitua said.

"Chris Anderson offered me a contract to go to the Sharks for a large amount of money, Craig Coleman rang me and said we are back in the competition, I want you in the top 25 with 50 grand for you and I said "Sorry, I signed with the Bulldogs for five grand" and that was the best thing I ever did.

"Souths offered me 50, Cronulla offered me 50, but I went to the Bulldogs for a five grand sign-on fee. Best decision I made, not only for my football career, but my development as a person. It was some of the hardest times I've ever had to deal with. I was working a job, I was catching a bus to the city, a train to Belmore, getting flogged at training, getting home at 9:30 and then go to bed and get back up to go to work."

Maitua went on to play 100 games for the Bulldogs between 2004 and 2008.

Listen to Part 1 of Andy Raymond's Unfiltered interview with Reni Maitua here.