Official Ronaldo Mulitalo

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Onya Ronny, steer some of those stars to the Sharks before Roosters get their claws into them
 

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can someone copy n paste the article?
Behind Ronaldo Mulitalo’s mad dash home to Brisbane last week
Cronulla winger Ronaldo Mulitalo made an emotional appearance at his old high school‘s rugby league grand final in between NRL games, writes BRENDAN BRADFORD.
 

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Ipswich State High School centre Tre Fotu grubbered the ball into touch and sparked wild celebrations last week as students, friends and family members rushed the field to mark a 16-12 win in the schoolboys’ Langer Cup grand final.

It’s a rare piece of silverware for a school that isn’t a rugby league powerhouse, so the raucous celebrations were warranted.
 

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can someone copy n paste the article?
Just in case you wanted more than the egg summary edition

Behind Ronaldo Mulitalo’s mad dash home to Brisbane last week
Cronulla winger Ronaldo Mulitalo made an emotional appearance at his old high school‘s rugby league grand final in between NRL games, writes BRENDAN BRADFORD.

Ipswich State High School centre Tre Fotu grubbered the ball into touch and sparked wild celebrations last week as students, friends and family members rushed the field to mark a 16-12 win in the schoolboys’ Langer Cup grand final.

It’s a rare piece of silverware for a school that isn’t a rugby league powerhouse, so the raucous celebrations were warranted.

Coach, Josh Bretherton, stood just off to the side, taking it all in. As the celebrating throng grew bigger and bigger, he spotted his former captain, local boy and now Cronulla Sharks star, Ronaldo Mulitalo walking towards him with a huge grin on his face. The pair shared an emotional hug in the middle of the field.

For Mulitalo, whose rugby league career took off while he was a student at the school, the occasion wasn’t just about tries and trophies.

It was about hope and overcoming. It was about the future. Most of all, it was about living up to the example his mum, Vaega, set for him in giving back to the community.

One of those kids at the heart of the celebrations was the first recipient of the Mulitalo Scholarship, which Ronaldo established with his family last year to give a little helping hand to a student at his old school.

“We look after all the school fees, as well as the program,” Mulitalo tells CODE Sports.

“We pay for all of that, and with a big thanks to Asics as well, they provide boots for the kid for the year.

“It doesn’t have to be the best rugby player. All we’re asking for is a good attitude, someone who rocks up to school every day and tries hard.

“That was a big thing for me, and that’s the kind of legacy I want to leave.”

It’s one of so many things the 2021 Ken Stephen Medal winner does to give back.

He knows what it’s like to struggle, and he’s never turned down anyone who needs help.

The list of charities he supports, causes he’s dedicated to and individuals he’s assisted is seemingly endless.

It’s just something him, his two brothers and little sister have always done.

“I’ve had nothing to give, but I try to give it anyway,” he says.

“My mum has always done that, even when we didn’t have much, we helped out where we could. She bred that into us, and she still looks after people back home.

“It’s a way of life for me.”

So, when Ipswich SHS went undefeated the entire season and made the Langer Cup grand final, there was no way Mulitalo was going to miss it; to support his old team, yes, but also to watch the inaugural Mulitalo Scholarship recipient creating history.

“I quickly flew back on Tuesday, and asked the coach if I could spend the day with them,” Mulitalo says.

“He was more than happy to let me go in, and the club, the Sharks, allowed me to go and do that as well.

“That’s what footy and having this life is all about, getting to look at that kid and be able to say that I was a part of something like that.

“I think some of the boys were a bit shocked that I rocked up all the way back home, but for me it was a no brainer, because I love that school to death.”

*****

Before he moved to Australia, Mulitalo was a football-loving kid growing up in Ōtara, South Auckland.

About 20km out of downtown Auckland, it was a tough place to grow up in the early 2000s. The Southern Motorway – the main thoroughfare south out of New Zealand’s largest city – borders the western edge of Ōtara, and cars speed by all day on the way to wherever, but they rarely stop in O-town. Mulitalo saw plenty of crime growing up.

“Mum and dad always made sure we were safe, even though sometimes it was taken out of our hands,” he says.

“Once I was sleeping in the sitting room, watching movies with my brothers, and we were robbed while we were sleeping. People were taking things from right on top of our heads while we were sleeping.

“That was the scene at that time, it was kind of normal, and that’s just a small fraction of what happened during that time. I could harp on about all the stories that happened.”

But that image of Ōtara doesn’t tell the full story of the area, and Mulitalo wouldn’t want only that side of the tale told. These days, South Auckland produces more than its fair share of artists, athletes and academics, and the 23-year-old Kiwis winger is proud to say that’s where he grew up.

“That’s me, that’s home,” he says.

“I’m comfortable as when I go back home. I don’t feel scared of it.

“I go back and feel like I fit straight back in. It’s always going to be home.

“I still go back to my grandparents’ in Ōtara and do the chores when I have to. I’ll never forget where I’m from.”

Of the many people who shaped his life, his mum is the most influential. Even when they didn’t have much, it was mum who taught Mulitalo the power and importance of giving back. It was mum who gave him and his siblings the strength to relocate to Australia in search of better opportunities. It was mum who kept him on the straight and narrow when his story could have had a different ending.

“There was always drugs around us, and I had mates who had drugs around them in Ōtara,” he says.

“My mum knew that we could fall into that, and that we’d be around it. But you’ve got a choice, and she helped me make those decisions. She taught me well enough to choose a pathway.

“Mum was the pillar in my life, and the rock in our family and I still have teachings from her that I try to live by every day.

“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think any of this would have happened.”

Not everyone has that figure in their lives, and Mulitalo understands that.

He knows that for whatever he didn’t have as a kid, he was blessed to have a mother who was there, and who cared.

Which might be why he feels so passionately about his charity and community work. Perhaps, if he does enough, he can be that positive influence in another young kid’s life.

“It’s important for us to look after our community,” he says.

“You just kind of fit in as much as you can. We’re lucky enough to get into a special position in our lives, so I just try and get around and do as much as I can.

“I’m just hoping that one day my story can inspire – and even if it’s one kid – then I’d be happy with that.”

*****

His upbringing and his community work give Mulitalo a different kind of perspective when he steps onto a footy field.

Getting paid to play the game he loves is a privilege. It’s a celebration.

Of course there’s the pressure of playing big games in front of occasionally hostile crowds, and Mulitalo is vigilant about staying on top of the mental side of his game.

But when the 80 minutes is up, life goes on. It’s not that easy for many of the people he encounters.

“Pressure is the poor mum trying to put food on the table for her kids, or trying to keep her kids safe,” he says.

“It’s a dad trying to provide for a family. That’s pressure.

“I think sometimes we can get lost in it all, but that’s the real pressure, man.

“I always try and keep that in perspective.”

His community work isn’t about ego, either. He’ll use his profile and social media platforms to raise awareness, but is low key with most of his work.

He’s truly committed to these causes, and that does take an emotional toll.

“You listen to kids’ stories in hospitals and you get a reality check real quick when you do that,” he says.

“It can take a toll on you as well. My good mate Fine Kula had cancer, and I still struggle now seeing kids with cancer. It feels like I have PTSD over it, that it’s all happening again.

“I just met with a family friend who has it, and that was tough. I was crying in the bloody room, so I had to bring myself together. Even then, I went home and it just weighed heavily on the heart.

“So, when I wake up, I’m just so grateful I get to do every day living as normal.”

Mulitalo joins in the celebrations. Picture: David Martin
Mulitalo joins in the celebrations. Picture: David Martin
It just so happens that ‘normal’ for Mulitalo, sometimes involves jumping on a plane north to cheer on his old high school.

Just part of the life he’s created.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to give back in that capacity and it’s a nice moment for me and my family as well,” he says.

“He (the scholarship winner) messaged me when he was about to play his first game of the season, just saying thank you, and that was nice to see.

“That’s that moment where I can think back to being even a little part of that kid’s life.

“I hope every player gets to a point where they can do something like that for someone.”
 

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Just in case you wanted more than the egg summary edition

Behind Ronaldo Mulitalo’s mad dash home to Brisbane last week
Cronulla winger Ronaldo Mulitalo made an emotional appearance at his old high school‘s rugby league grand final in between NRL games, writes BRENDAN BRADFORD.

Ipswich State High School centre Tre Fotu grubbered the ball into touch and sparked wild celebrations last week as students, friends and family members rushed the field to mark a 16-12 win in the schoolboys’ Langer Cup grand final.

It’s a rare piece of silverware for a school that isn’t a rugby league powerhouse, so the raucous celebrations were warranted.

Coach, Josh Bretherton, stood just off to the side, taking it all in. As the celebrating throng grew bigger and bigger, he spotted his former captain, local boy and now Cronulla Sharks star, Ronaldo Mulitalo walking towards him with a huge grin on his face. The pair shared an emotional hug in the middle of the field.

For Mulitalo, whose rugby league career took off while he was a student at the school, the occasion wasn’t just about tries and trophies.

It was about hope and overcoming. It was about the future. Most of all, it was about living up to the example his mum, Vaega, set for him in giving back to the community.

One of those kids at the heart of the celebrations was the first recipient of the Mulitalo Scholarship, which Ronaldo established with his family last year to give a little helping hand to a student at his old school.

“We look after all the school fees, as well as the program,” Mulitalo tells CODE Sports.

“We pay for all of that, and with a big thanks to Asics as well, they provide boots for the kid for the year.

“It doesn’t have to be the best rugby player. All we’re asking for is a good attitude, someone who rocks up to school every day and tries hard.

“That was a big thing for me, and that’s the kind of legacy I want to leave.”

It’s one of so many things the 2021 Ken Stephen Medal winner does to give back.

He knows what it’s like to struggle, and he’s never turned down anyone who needs help.

The list of charities he supports, causes he’s dedicated to and individuals he’s assisted is seemingly endless.

It’s just something him, his two brothers and little sister have always done.

“I’ve had nothing to give, but I try to give it anyway,” he says.

“My mum has always done that, even when we didn’t have much, we helped out where we could. She bred that into us, and she still looks after people back home.

“It’s a way of life for me.”

So, when Ipswich SHS went undefeated the entire season and made the Langer Cup grand final, there was no way Mulitalo was going to miss it; to support his old team, yes, but also to watch the inaugural Mulitalo Scholarship recipient creating history.

“I quickly flew back on Tuesday, and asked the coach if I could spend the day with them,” Mulitalo says.

“He was more than happy to let me go in, and the club, the Sharks, allowed me to go and do that as well.

“That’s what footy and having this life is all about, getting to look at that kid and be able to say that I was a part of something like that.

“I think some of the boys were a bit shocked that I rocked up all the way back home, but for me it was a no brainer, because I love that school to death.”

*****

Before he moved to Australia, Mulitalo was a football-loving kid growing up in Ōtara, South Auckland.

About 20km out of downtown Auckland, it was a tough place to grow up in the early 2000s. The Southern Motorway – the main thoroughfare south out of New Zealand’s largest city – borders the western edge of Ōtara, and cars speed by all day on the way to wherever, but they rarely stop in O-town. Mulitalo saw plenty of crime growing up.

“Mum and dad always made sure we were safe, even though sometimes it was taken out of our hands,” he says.

“Once I was sleeping in the sitting room, watching movies with my brothers, and we were robbed while we were sleeping. People were taking things from right on top of our heads while we were sleeping.

“That was the scene at that time, it was kind of normal, and that’s just a small fraction of what happened during that time. I could harp on about all the stories that happened.”

But that image of Ōtara doesn’t tell the full story of the area, and Mulitalo wouldn’t want only that side of the tale told. These days, South Auckland produces more than its fair share of artists, athletes and academics, and the 23-year-old Kiwis winger is proud to say that’s where he grew up.

“That’s me, that’s home,” he says.

“I’m comfortable as when I go back home. I don’t feel scared of it.

“I go back and feel like I fit straight back in. It’s always going to be home.

“I still go back to my grandparents’ in Ōtara and do the chores when I have to. I’ll never forget where I’m from.”

Of the many people who shaped his life, his mum is the most influential. Even when they didn’t have much, it was mum who taught Mulitalo the power and importance of giving back. It was mum who gave him and his siblings the strength to relocate to Australia in search of better opportunities. It was mum who kept him on the straight and narrow when his story could have had a different ending.

“There was always drugs around us, and I had mates who had drugs around them in Ōtara,” he says.

“My mum knew that we could fall into that, and that we’d be around it. But you’ve got a choice, and she helped me make those decisions. She taught me well enough to choose a pathway.

“Mum was the pillar in my life, and the rock in our family and I still have teachings from her that I try to live by every day.

“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think any of this would have happened.”

Not everyone has that figure in their lives, and Mulitalo understands that.

He knows that for whatever he didn’t have as a kid, he was blessed to have a mother who was there, and who cared.

Which might be why he feels so passionately about his charity and community work. Perhaps, if he does enough, he can be that positive influence in another young kid’s life.

“It’s important for us to look after our community,” he says.

“You just kind of fit in as much as you can. We’re lucky enough to get into a special position in our lives, so I just try and get around and do as much as I can.

“I’m just hoping that one day my story can inspire – and even if it’s one kid – then I’d be happy with that.”

*****

His upbringing and his community work give Mulitalo a different kind of perspective when he steps onto a footy field.

Getting paid to play the game he loves is a privilege. It’s a celebration.

Of course there’s the pressure of playing big games in front of occasionally hostile crowds, and Mulitalo is vigilant about staying on top of the mental side of his game.

But when the 80 minutes is up, life goes on. It’s not that easy for many of the people he encounters.

“Pressure is the poor mum trying to put food on the table for her kids, or trying to keep her kids safe,” he says.

“It’s a dad trying to provide for a family. That’s pressure.

“I think sometimes we can get lost in it all, but that’s the real pressure, man.

“I always try and keep that in perspective.”

His community work isn’t about ego, either. He’ll use his profile and social media platforms to raise awareness, but is low key with most of his work.

He’s truly committed to these causes, and that does take an emotional toll.

“You listen to kids’ stories in hospitals and you get a reality check real quick when you do that,” he says.

“It can take a toll on you as well. My good mate Fine Kula had cancer, and I still struggle now seeing kids with cancer. It feels like I have PTSD over it, that it’s all happening again.

“I just met with a family friend who has it, and that was tough. I was crying in the bloody room, so I had to bring myself together. Even then, I went home and it just weighed heavily on the heart.

“So, when I wake up, I’m just so grateful I get to do every day living as normal.”

Mulitalo joins in the celebrations. Picture: David Martin
Mulitalo joins in the celebrations. Picture: David Martin
It just so happens that ‘normal’ for Mulitalo, sometimes involves jumping on a plane north to cheer on his old high school.

Just part of the life he’s created.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to give back in that capacity and it’s a nice moment for me and my family as well,” he says.

“He (the scholarship winner) messaged me when he was about to play his first game of the season, just saying thank you, and that was nice to see.

“That’s that moment where I can think back to being even a little part of that kid’s life.

“I hope every player gets to a point where they can do something like that for someone.”
Thanks Bort
 
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Thanks Tiger, I didn't make that connection at all when I read the article
I actually watched abit of the game, caught maybe the last 15 mins but he didn't get enough ball to make any judgement call. He's just low and very stocky from what I can tell.
 

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Thanks for posting twice mate. I missed the first one!
 
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