“I still remember the early mornings when they would wake up getting ready for work, they had to iron their shirt and make sure everything was looking clean. That is something I pride myself on. It might seem like a little thing, to look presentable, but it goes a long way.
“It was pretty regimented, but it was pretty tough as well. We had to go on their schedule. When we were younger, they had to balance the role of being in the military and a parent as well. I always told my dad if I never took the path of footy, I would definitely go along the lines of the military.”
Akuila trained to be part of New Zealand’s SAS regiment and passed all the physical tests, but wasn’t admitted because he needed glasses for his poor eyesight.
“One thing he always wishes upon me is that I don’t have his eyes,” Siua laughs.
But now the eyes of the NRL world are firmly watching Wong, who has even drawn rave reviews from Phil Gould as one of the best forward prospects of his generation.
Wong has also been promoted as the poster boy for the Roosters’ academy, the brainchild of chairman Nick Politis, who was so enamoured with Barcelona’s own development system during a visit to the football giants that he returned from the Roosters’ World Club Challenge trip insistent on starting one of his own.
Grappling with an injury toll that will rob them of Joseph Manu, Joseph Suaalii and Billy Smith, a fellow Scots College student, for the sudden-death showdown with the Storm in Melbourne on Friday night, the patched-up Roosters have an academy graduate finding his feet in the big time.
Wong scored a crucial second-half try which allowed Trent Robinson’s side to level the scores against the Sharks in their qualifying final last week before Sam Walker’s field goal kicked them to an improbable win.
“Robbo spoke in pre-season and said Siua is going to be the one to come on for us,” captain James Tedesco says. “It probably took a bit later than we thought, but he’s shown he’s just a footballer really.
“He probably learned a lot in the pre-season about the details and what it’s like to be an NRL player, but in the last couple of months he’s had the freedom to go out and play. You can see how he’s running the ball, how he’s defending, how he’s offloading, change of angles.
“It shows how good an athlete he is, and he’ll keep getting better and better he is which is really exciting.”
And as for the phone call which left him in tears?
Says Wong: “I was obviously at the time a bit disappointed, but when I look back at it now, it was one of the best decisions I have made.”
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