Emerald union star accepts Qld Reds contract
WHEN Junior Lolo Fakaosilea runs on to the field next year, he will be dressed in a Queensland Reds jersey.
The former Emerald schoolboy will make Ballymore his home for the next two years after signing a deal with the Queensland rugby club.
Though he had a couple of other offers, Junior stayed true to the state where he has grown up playing rugby.
"At previous training I was liking it and fitting in," he said.
"I sat down with my manager and that was one of the main things we looked at before selecting the right team.
"I knew a couple of the players already and it felt like family. That's why I accepted the contract."
But before he officially starts the 2014 Super 15 season with the Reds, Junior will represent the Australian under-18 rugby team for the third time.
The team will play two games against Fiji and New Zealand at the beginning of October in Sydney before leaving for an eight-week tour of Europe on November 16.
"The tour last year we went to New Zealand," he said.
"The tour of Europe - I'm excited and it should be good experience."
The side will play England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Munster and are expecting some tough games.
Junior explained the structure of how the Northern Hemisphere teams play is different to southern teams.
"It reflects how they coach," he said.
"They play a slow and physical game as we play quick ball with much more pace.
"It will be hard to try and adapt to their style of rugby so we have to gel as a team."
The tour will be good preparation for the No.8 who said playing against his heroes in the Super 15 competition would present a mental and physical challenge.
Junior said the big pressure would come from playing the professional and experienced players who he looked up to growing up, but that it was a welcome challenge.
In stepping closer to realising his dream, Junior was also mindful of others in the Central Highlands region eager to follow in his footsteps.
He encouraged upcoming junior rugby union players to continue working hard and be consistent.
"You have to have the right frame of mind," he said.
"If you want it, you have to go for it."
Junior admitted it could be harder for the players in the bush who weren't as exposed, but it wasn't impossible.
"Persevere in everything and never give up," Junior said.
"One day the opportunity will come so take it with two hands.
"In a way that's what I've done but I'm not there yet, I have to work harder to reach my goal."