IC14 Vignettes – Kisione Taulani (Tonga Thunder)
Monday, September 08 2014 @ 10:09 AM ACST
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
With the International Cup for 2014 complete and most teams back home recovering and getting back to normal lives, players can reflect on their journey. The Tonga Thunder finished 6th overall after a narrow finals loss to Canada, and can hold their heads high after an event which saw three wins from five games.
One of those players is Kisione Taulani, a young 17 year old midfielder in his first International Cup event. As well as playing for the Tongan national team, based in Nukalofa, Kisione is also a member of the Lauderdale Bombers Football Club in Tasmania, where he hopes to continue to develop his skills in Australian Rules football, and no doubt look to be a long term part of the Tongan national team at the next International Cup and beyond.
A small interview with Kisione unearths a few things. His favourite AFL club is Hawthorn and his favourite player is Cyril Rioli. His overall sporting hero, however, is Israel Folau. Revered as a Tongan product (born in Sydney to Tongan parents), Israel has inspired Kisione and so many others not only for his enormous success at international level in Rugby Union and Rugby league, but also for his courage to give AFL football a shot.
He lists his career highlights to date as this IC14 experience, as well as playing semi-finals for Lauderdale in the Tasmanian State League. Kisione also prefers the banana to the checkside kick when shooting for goal. He lists his funniest footy moments as the times he tries to speak English after a game to Australian people.
Kisione had predicted that the men’s champions would be the Irish team and that the Canadian Northern Lights would take the women’s. Close, though the PNG Mosquitoes threw out many people’s predictions.
We certainly wish Kisione all the best for his career, both at Lauderdale and in his pursuits to be a part of a successful Tongan national Australian Rules team into the future.