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Kubuwai re-born

Elenoa Baselala In Townsville, Australia
Saturday, October 28, 2017

HE stands taller than most and bursts through tackles like someone older than his 21-year-old frame.

Second generation Fiji Bati, Petero Benjamin Nakubuwai shows glimpses of his father, Pio Kubuwai who was one of the Fiji Bati pioneers and represented Fiji at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup.

While he clearly displays the genes inherited from his father, it seems that they have mutated to make a better version.

Kubuwai Sr was well known locally as one of the steel men of rugby league.

Playing for the Gold Coast Titans, it comes as no surprise that "Ben" as he is called has always been sportive.

He has dribbled the soccer ball at the age of six, played rugby union at seven and played rugby league with friends in school.

At 14 years, he had signed up with a rugby league club and within a year he was picked up by the Melbourne Storm.

"When I was 15, I was flying back and forth to Melbourne and when I was in Year 12, I signed two years with the Storm.

"They told me that I had to finish school first, I finished my exams on Monday and by Tuesday, I had packed my bags and moved to Melbourne.

"I ended up being there for three years in the under-20 so that's where I met Suli (Vunivalu) and Tui (Kamikamica."

By the end last year, Nakubuwai had an offer to move to the Gold Coast where he is playing now with the Titans.

"I have been pretty fortunate," he said.

He played in the Premier Cup and made his NRL debut against the Parramatta Eels this year.

Growing up, Nakubuwai remembers doing everything together with his parents and two brothers.

But some of us do have dark family secrets.

For Nakubuwai, he and his brother share a secret they hope their mother would never find out.

While he was still in Year 3, the two brothers were wrestling when they accidentally (as he says), pushed the coffee table and their mother's watch which was on the table fell off.

Thinking fast and knowing how special the watch was as it was an anniversary watch, the two boys cycled to the shop where the watch was bought hoping its warranty was still valid.

Unfortunately, they had to resort to another plan as the warranty had expired.

"We decided to hide the watch, she looked for it for weeks but we never told her. She never found out…I think now she will," he said.

Nakuabuwai is pursuing a degree in Sports Science, which he hopes to put into use when he retires from rugby league.

He said he always tested his arm strength through tennis and of course played rugby union.

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