However, Manase, by far the most accomplished of the quartet, who maintained his innocence in the stabbing and plans to appeal, had to send his best wishes over the prison phone.
In his last interview before going to prison, when asked who was the best football player in the family, Manase had no hesitation in naming Samuela.
‘I wish Manase was here. That’s it. [Samuela] If we weren’t in this situation, we wouldn’t be working so hard.
Lile Fainu talks about her sons Manase and Samuela
As the league world prepares to set its sights on the family’s newest NRL player, Lil recalls her sons’ rollercoaster ride of joy and heartache. The matriarch breaks down in tears as she speaks of the impact Manase had on the development of Samuela and his other younger brothers.
“I had mixed feelings and I cried,” Lil said after learning Samuelah had been drafted.
“I wish Mase was here. That’s it. [Samuela] If we weren’t in this situation, we wouldn’t be working so hard.
“Physically, he’s different, but in other ways he’s the epitome of Manase. Samuela is the tallest of all my kids, but mentality, everything, is Manase. In terms of personality, their mouths are Nonstop.They don’t have a filter.
“It’s been his dream for a long time.
“He always had ambitions to play football. When I couldn’t afford it, I sent my kids to a Catholic school and I paid the bills by the week and put them in a good school.
“But they don’t want to go to Catholic schools, they want to go to Westfields [Sports High School] Learn how to play football. “
Sunday is also a big day for Latu, who will make the transition from the Jersey Flegg to the NSW Cup for Manly’s regional side, the Blacktown Workers, ahead of Samuela’s 4pm debut.
Asked what Samuela’s big moment would do to Manase’s spirit, Lil said: “It means the world to him, he’s happy. He wishes he was here.”
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