Back in round three against the Dragons Sam Tagataese celebrated his 100th NRL game with many, including coach Peter Sharp, predicting the best may be yet to come for the hard running forward.
“Some guys take a little longer to mature and develop as players and I think Sam is one of those,” Sharp said. “He was terrific last year and has been good for us this season and I honestly believe he will only get better. His best footy is still ahead of him.”
While the Dragons game didn’t go exactly to script for the Sharks, Tagataese was again amongst the Sharks best on the day, while he has since carried that form forward, scoring a barnstorming try in his teams’ win over the Warriors.
Some might suggest, even the man himself, that what has turned him into the more consistent player he is today, is the support of his family, which now includes new baby daughter Nevaeh Grace.
“I’m playing for the family now, so I’ve got a lot to think about,” Tagataese said.
Still on family and helping Sam to celebrate his 100th game milestone, along with little Nevaeh Grace and wife Anastasia, were his mother and father who flew in from New Zealand to see their son take on the Warriors last weekend.
As is always the case when Sharks NRL players achieve significant milestones, the club have the game worn jerseys embroidered with the match details, then framed as a keepsake for the years to come.
The jersey was presented to Sam after the Sharks big win over the Warriors, and proud parents mum Toso and dad Asofa were there to see the game then watch on when his milestone jersey was given to him on stage at Sharkies at the post-match presentation.
Now with over 100 NRL games, plus 50 in the top team for the Sharks under his belt, Tagataese moves into the experienced player and team leader category and if his improvement continues in the years ahead the sky is the limit for ‘big Sam’.