Former Huddersfield star David Faiumu never shirked a challenge during his playing career and he’s now carrying that ethos forward into his new role with Wellington Rugby League.
Faiumu played for the North Queensland Cowboys side that reached the club’s first ever NRL Grand final in 2005. He also made eight appearances for New Zealand including a famous 24-0 victory over Australia in the 2005 Tri-Nations Final.
He was chosen in the Samoa training squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, playing against the Kiwis ahead of the 2010 Rugby League Four Nations tournament.
Faiumu was also picked for the Exiles squad for the Rugby League International Origin Match against England at Headingley in June 2011.
The Wainuiomata-born player helped the Giants to 98 victories during six seasons in Yorkshire after switching to the Super League in 2008.
Faiumu scored 14 tries in 162 appearances for the club, featuring regularly at the head of sports betting site performance statistics while wearing the famous claret and gold shirt.
He retired from playing at the end of the 2014 season, taking up a new role as Huddersfield’s Development Officer before returning home in 2016.
After accepting the position as general manager of the Wellington Rugby League programme in June of that year, Faiumu told the Waikato Times he was keen to develop the next generation of talent.
“There’s quite a massive number of talented kids throughout New Zealand, and especially the Waikato region,” he said.
“For a lot of them, this is all they do, they live and breathe their rugby league, in certain areas of Waikato, and it’s great to see, it’s exciting for me.”
The 34-year-old has spent the last year working hard with youngsters in the region and he admits the job has been more difficult than he first imagined.
“It’s been a challenge, I’m not going to lie,” he told Maori Television. “Wellington Rugby League is in a rebuilding phase. It’s been through a lot in the last ten years.”
One of the biggest challenges Faiumu has faced is the improvement in standard since his international career came to an end.
“The game’s a lot faster these days,” he added. “Some of these young boys like Taumalolo, you have to deal with those type of blokes on a weekly basis at club level.”
Looking ahead Faiumu hopes to secure a role with the New Zealand coaching team, but for now he is fully focused on helping Wellington’s youngsters progress further up the rugby league ladder.