Christian Tuipulotu is determined to make the most of any opportunities that come his way this season following a challenging 2021.
Tuipulotu is heading into his second season with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles after joining the club last year from the Sydney Roosters.
The solidly built winger played just eight games for Manly’s NSW Cup team, the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles last year, after the competition was stopped in late June due to covid.
Tuipulotu was promoted to the NRL team in early May for his Manly club debut in the round 11 win over the Parramatta Eels.
Despite the lack of game time last year, the always upbeat Tuipulotu said he learnt many valuable lessons. Tuipulotu turned 21 today and will play for the Sea Eagles in the NRL trial against the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval tonight.
“It was pretty tough to crack into the NRL side with the way Reuben Garrick and Jason Saab were playing.’’ Tuipulotu said.
“There were a lot of challenges that came along with covid and then the relocation of the NRL competition to Queensland.
“I didn’t get to play much but I still learnt plenty from the boys just by watching their preparations during the week at training.
“It was also good to be part of the camp in Queensland and to work with the boys in their preparations for the finals.
“This pre-season, I have been working on my speed. With the changes in the game now, it is very fast flowing and you need to be a powerful player.
“I will just keep working hard to improve my game, so I can try and get a spot in the NRL team.”
Tuipulotu has played two first grade matches over the past two seasons after making his NRL debut for the Sydney Roosters in 2020.
Having been part of the New Zealand Warriors system from a young age, Tuipulotu was chased by several NRL and Super Rugby Clubs at the age of 16.
Tuipulotu said it took him and his family time to settle into Sydney after moving from New Zealand.
“I have two brothers and two sisters. My parents were a bit reluctant at first to come over but they love living in Australia now,’’ he said.
“My family is what motivates me. They are a big reason why I play.”