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Ronaldo Mulitalo's NRL debut in 2019 was a baptism of fire, thrust into the Sharks team as a teenager after an injury to Josh Dugan in the warm-up against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

As fate would have it, the charismatic winger will face the same opponent at the same ground for his 100th match on Saturday night in front of an army of loved ones and friends stemming from his high-school days in Ipswich.

"It's pretty surreal; starting my career at Suncorp and now playing my 100th game there will be special, not only for me but for all my family," Mulitalo says.

He's now one of the NRL's brightest lights, having scored 74 NRL tries while also representing New Zealand, but Mulitalo's journey began humbly.

Growing up in a leaky south Auckland garage, his family's few belongings were sometimes stolen overnight. Those experiences have instilled gratitude and humility in Mulitalo, renowned for giving back to the community.

"South Auckland is a bit of a spot where it's hard, but my mum was the backbone of it all, held us together, taught me good values. It's just inspiring," he reflects.

Unsurprisingly, given his competitive nature, Mulitalo remembers being a "real keen guy" when he first laced up the boots as a junior for the Ellerslie Eagles.

"I didn't know how to melt my mouthguard (to mould it), so my first mouthguard just looked like chewing gum in my mouth," he says.

As a 14-year-old, he made the move to Australia and settled in Ipswich, where he continued his rugby league rise and earned Queensland schoolboy jerseys.

Catching the eye of Sharks General Manager Football Darren Mooney, Mulitalo arrived in the Sutherland Shire after graduating from high school in 2016.

While it was tough to adjust initially, Mulitalo soon found a home at the Sharks. It wasn't long before he broke into first grade, playing eight games in 2019. He quickly became a fan favourite with his enthusiasm and try-scoring finesse.

"It's just something that comes out of me; I've always been passionate and an outgoing dude. My competitiveness has always been there," he says.

"It's just been good to pull on the black, white and blue every week. Every time I get that opportunity, I value it so much. If I do ever play my last game here, I always want to leave it in a better place than I found it.

"I'm still working towards that, but every day I walk into that gate and I see this club, I just make sure I put my best foot forward every week with the best attitude I can, represent my teammates and represent what the club is about."

Despite being one of the game's elite finishers, Mulitalo deflects the praise.

"You just stand there and catch the ball put the ball down," he quips of his role.

"I've played with some great players over my years being at this club. To be able to have world-class centres inside me and halfbacks and five-eighths makes life a bit easier, a world-class fullback like Willy Kennedy as well.

"For me, my job is to put the ball down. I've made a career of just grabbing the ball and putting it down. I'm not going to complain too much about it."

Unashamedly wearing his heart on his sleeve, Mulitalo has set his sights on being a one-club player for the Sharks, where he is signed until the end of 2025.

"I always get emotional talking about the club and talking about my teammates," he says. "Sometimes (the passion) gets too much, where I go away from the main thing in games sometimes. That's something I've worked hard on.

"To do it for this club – hopefully 100 times on the weekend – will be special for me. Hopefully one day I get the chance to live out my whole career and finish up here."

Rather than a single moment, Mulitalo nominated his career highlight as having the chance to play before the fervent fans at PointsBet Stadium so regularly.

"I'm just really thankful for the opportunities and thankful for all my coaching staff and the people and the players that I've had in my career so far," he adds, also shouting out mother Veaga and partner Victoria for their support and dedication.

"I just want to put the club before myself this week. That's all I want to think about."

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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