Josh Aloiai reflects on his new two year-deal with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles with a heavy sense of pride and gratitude.
Off contract at the end of 2023, Aloiai has re-signed with the Sea Eagles for a further two years that will see him remain at Manly until at least the end of the 2025 season.
The 26-year-old has become a dominant leader of the Sea Eagles pack since joining the club in 2021 from the Wests Tigers.
Aloiai said Coach Des Hasler has had a positive impact on him in just two seasons at Manly.
“I’ve got a really good relationship with Des. He has always been transparent with me and treated me with the upmost respect,’’ Aloiai said.
“At the same time, I respect Des because he holds no punches. That’s what I love about him.
“By Des rewarding me with this new contract, it doesn’t mean it’s time for me to put my hands up and say, ‘yeah I’ve made it’ or anything like that.
“It comes with a responsibility to play harder, to lead more, to help develop the young kids at Manly, to leave a good legacy, and to help this club become stronger. That’s the responsibility I now have.
It’s good to be a good footballer but it’s more important to become a better man.Josh Aloiai
"That is something Des said to me that really hit home when he congratulated me on the contract.
“What I'm really blessed about is that I am surrounded by such a good playing group. I’ve forged some really strong relationships with my team-mates. It helps me to be a leader.”
Aloiai also acknowledged the influence Sea Eagles Assistant Coach Steven Hales has had on him as a ‘long-time friend and football mentor’.
“When I first moved over to Sydney from New Zealand, I was playing U20s for Parramatta and I remember ‘Halesy’ telling me after a game that I would play NRL one day. I was 18 at the time,’’ Aloiai reflected.
“Two or three years later, I ended up playing NRL. ‘Halesy’ is someone who picks and sticks. He doesn’t just care about football but family as well.”
Aloiai said he would be forever grateful for the opportunities now given to his family.
“The life I am living out now is everything I prayed about as a young kid growing up in west Auckland. Everything I could have imagined and more,’’ said a humble Aloiai.
“There is a Bible verse I like, Esphesians 3:20, that says ‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us’
“My family are the people that have been with me through the injuries, setbacks, or disappointments. I’m really grateful I have the opportunity to create a good life for them now.
“I feel very blessed. I owe Manly a lot. They see it by what I produce on the field, what I produce at training, and everything I give to this club.
“Every time I pull on the Manly jersey, I ask myself ‘what can I do for this jersey’ and what can I do for my team-mates next to me. I certainly cherish it.”
Interim Sea Eagles CEO Gary Wolman said the club was delighted to re-sign Aloiai to a new deal.
“Josh is a wonderful young man who is a quality asset to our club, both on and off the field,’’ Wolman said.
“To have him extend for a further two years is very exciting news for the Sea Eagles as we push hard for another premiership title.”