The birth of his first child, a huge season for Manly, to getting married on Saturday – what a huge year 2017 has been for Apisai Koroisau.
Manly Sea Eagles Media Manager Wayne Cousins sat down with the always smiling Api to talk about his superb season at hooker, and how much his life has changed for the better.
Wayne: Api, everyone loves your personality. You are certainly enjoying life at the moment, mate?
Api: The birth of my daughter, Miliana, in February changed my life around. It put a lot of things into perspective. I sort of took footy for granted a little bit before that. The influence I can now have on her means I really want to give rugby league a red hot crack. Playing NRL doesn’t have a life span. I am genuinely happy and I want to do the best for my family.
Wayne: Tell us about your beautiful fiancée, Amy, and the support she offers you?
Api: Amy has helped me enormously. I was pretty relaxed in most areas of my life before I met her. She has a really strong work ethic and it has rubbed off on me. She has settled me down which is what I needed. I felt I played some really good footy this year and Amy played a major role in that with her love and support. We are now setting up our future up and I can’t thank her enough for what she has done for me.
Wayne: You are getting married in your native Fiji. How special will this be for you both?
Api: It was actually Amy who chose the destination. She is a huge fan of the tropical weather and she loves the sun. I’m quite excited about getting married but at the same time, I am pretty nervous. I don’t like being the centre of attention, so standing up in front of everyone makes me a little nervous. I just want to get married and enjoy the experience.
Wayne: In a few weeks, you play for Fiji again in the Rugby League World Cup. What do you enjoy the most about playing for your country?
Api: It is an awesome feeling pulling on the Fiji jersey and representing the country where you are from. The thing for me is the fans in Fiji. They are so passionate. Win, lose or draw, they will back you 110 per cent, and that is one of the best things about it. To represent those people mean so much. They don’t have as much as other countries and people around the world do, but they know how to stay happy and to enjoy the little things in life. I love that.
Wayne: Talking about culture, what Coach Trent Barrett has established here at Manly in just two seasons has been pretty impressive?
Api: We have been pretty lucky with some of the personalities we have in the team. Trent has done a huge job in giving us as much time together as possible away from training which has worked wonders for us. Just some of the players he has found and brought to this club has worked so well. We have put together a team from nothing. A lot of people wrote us off at the start of the season but our camaraderie brought it home and helped us go a long way. If you have a few issues off the field, Trent is the first to put his hand up and offer his help. He is one of the most genuine, thoughtful coaches I have met. Trent is definitely a people’s person and he knows how to work his players and to get the best out of them.
Wayne: What victories stood out for you this year on the way to Manly making the finals for the first time in two years?
Api: The win over the Cowboys in Townsville is up there. We started off really slow against Parramatta and Souths. That was a massive game. The boys put in a huge effort and it showed a lot of the character that we have in the team. Beating Canberra in Canberra was a big effort. It was a really, cold night and for ‘Walkz’ (Dylan Walker) to do what he did…he really fired up the rest of us and gave us a lot of energy. Also the Roosters game at Lottoland where we came back in the second half. That win was really important. Had we lost, we don’t make the top eight. There were a few important games this year and the team really stood up.
Wayne: Which of your team-mates impressed you this year?
Api: I’m a huge fan of Curtis Sironen. We lost him there for a little bit and you could see the difference in the team. He is one of those guys who had the grunt that you need in every team. ‘Siro’ really carried that for us and that right edge was quite solid with him there. I also rate Brian Kelly. He is one of the best young talents I’ve seen. He might have had a little rough patch towards the end of the season but that was all about confidence more than anything else. For him to play the way he did in the last few games was really important for us.
Wayne: Api, congratulations on your season and all the best for the wedding.
Api: Thanks mate, much appreciated.