How once 'home sick' Feki found Premiership success
The guile of Ben Barba at the back and the speed and evasion of Valentine Holmes on the right was complemented by the power and brute force of Sosaia Feki on the Sharks left wing.
The Sharks back three played an integral role in the teams’ success in 2016, not only in combining for 59 tries, the most of any fullback-wing partnership in the NRL, but in getting the team on the front foot with their determined charges from deep inside their own end.
Feki was equally as important as his two high profile teammates, with his strength in being able to get the ball over the line despite the attention of the opposition defence, along with his ability to play as almost an extra forward when the going got tough, earning him high praise and respect from the coaching staff and his teammates.
In 24 games he scored 14 tries, ranking him third behind just Holmes and Barba, made 17 line breaks and 57 tackles busts, numbers which go a long way to outlining his worth to the Sharks in 2016 and in providing evidence as to how valuable he was to their premiership success.
Feki arrived at the Cronulla club in 2012 with a bushy afro hair-do and behind the eight-ball when it came to the fitness required to play in the NRL, but after plenty of hard work and a successful season in the NSW Cup the former Warrior was ready to take the next step.
A late call up in round eight against the Newcastle Knights saw him debut in the NRL, he would go on to become an NRL regular at the Sharks, proving he had what it takes to play at the top level.
And as they say, the rest is history, with Feki a Premiership winner in 2016.
Of all his 14 tries in 2016 the most significant was perhaps scored in the Sharks 32-20 Grand Final qualifying victory over the Cowboys.
After a torrid opening 20 minutes the Sharks sensed an opportunity and the ball arrived in the hands of their left winger, with Feki having plenty of work to do in a bid to post first points on the night.
Showing his trademark power and footwork Feki evaded the cover defence, planted the ball down in the north-western corner of Allianz Stadium and kick-started the Sharks demolition of the Cowboys.
A man of few words and a reluctant media performer, preferring to let his actions do the talking, Feki was as good at evading journalists as he was at stepping opposition wingers. He did offer a quote after Grand Final day, explaining how through perseverance he wound claim a premiership ring with the Sharks.
“It took me two years to find my feet. I was homesick and there were times where I didn’t know what I should do. I’m just glad I stuck with it.” – Feki told Rugby League Week after the Grand Final triumph. Sharks fans are glad he stuck with it too!
Year in Review: Sosaia Feki*
Games played 2016 - 24
Tries: 14 (3rd)
Line Breaks: 17 (3rd)
Tackle Busts: 57 (5th)
*Statistic: (Club Ranking). Statistics via www.foxsports.com.au/nrl