Promising young Sea Eagles prop Alec Tuitavake certainly has the right family ties to make his own name in the sporting world.
In his first season as a Sea Eagles development player, Alec is soaking up every minute of every training session with the NRL squad over summer.
The 19-year-old is another product of the very successful Sea Eagles Pathways program, having impressed with his powerful running and strength in the Harold Matthews and SG Ball competitions.
It led to many junior representative honours, including the NSW U18 team and selection in the Australian Schoolboys in 2019.
From the age of 14, Alec would make the commute over from his Redfern home to Narrabeen for training and to attend school at St Augustines, Brookvale.
He would also spend time before or after training with his uncle, Solomon Haumono, who was more than happy to see his nephew in the maroon and white colours.
A devastating back-rower, Haumono played 76 games for Manly before going on to become a heavyweight boxing champion.
I never saw my uncle play rugby league live because I was quite young, but I used to hear stories of how he was a heavy hitterAlec Tuitavake
“I’m not into boxing as much as my uncle but I do like to watch it. My father was a kick-boxer before a boxer, so it’s a family thing.
“But for me, I’ve always loved rugby league. Being from Redfern, South Sydney were my team growing up and Nathan Merritt was one of my favourite players.”
As for Alec’s father, Alex Tui was a successful boxer in the 1980s before becoming Australia’s first World Kickboxing Champion in 1991.
Whilst Alec jokes about not having Merritt’s speed, what he has inherited from the family bloodlines is a strong work ethic.
“I’m learning so much from all of the props here at Manly. They have certainly taken me under their wing and I am very grateful for that,’’ Alec said.
“I enjoyed my time in the Sea Eagles Pathway program. It taught me about hard work and that it can pay off if you stick with it.
“So for me, it is about working hard and learning every day and making the most of my opportunities.”
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