Just how fickle the game of rugby league can be, was never more evident than with Sione Katoa’s NRL debut match last season.
Chosen to make the trip to Townsville with the Sharks top squad for round one, Katoa was on a massive high after earning his spot due to an outstanding summer.
However less than 40-minutes into his first match, an unfortunate accident saw Katoa break his jaw in an accidental and innocuous incident minutes before half time and in the process his NRL dream became a nightmare.
The recovery process saw him sidelined for the next six to eight weeks but to his credit, Katoa kept his chin up (no pun intended), trained strongly and when ready to resume went back to the Newtown Jets, continued to improve and learn his trade, waiting patiently for that NRL recall.
And it did come, with the 21-year-old finishing the year with nine NRL games to his credit and some valuable experience, putting him firmly in line to make the Sharks left wing position his own in 2019.
Possessing clever footwork, a good turn of speed and the ability to beat a man one-on-one, outside the likes of Josh Dugan, Josh Morris and young gun Bronson Xerri, with Shaun Johnson, Chad Townsend and Matt Moylan to also provide scoring opportunities, and look for Katoa to shine even brighter this coming season.
Born in New Zealand, raised in Sydney’s west, Katoa came across to the Sharks in 2017 and was an instant success in the Holden Cup, topping the try scorers list and making the under-20’s team of the year in his first season in Cronulla colours.
Expect to see more of that star quality come to the surface once he cements his position and finds his feet in the Sharks NRL.
A player who prefers to let his deeds on the field do his talking, Sharks Media still managed to illicit some responses to our questions from Katoa as we continue to go ‘under the surface’ in getting to know your 2019 Sharks NRL squad.
Born – August 21, 1997, Hamilton, NZ
Junior Club – Chester Hill Hornets
Position – Wing
Height – 180cm
Weight – 88kgs
Sharks NRL games – 9