29 November 2022

Murrumbidgee Regional High School year 12 graduate to trial with NRL club Melbourne Storm

| Oliver Jacques
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The Liu family dress in black.

Semisi Omega Liu (centre) with his family: Ofa Jr (brother), Ofa Sr (father), Siosiana (mother), Timote (brother). Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Murrumbidgee Regional High School year 12 student Semisi “Omega” Liu is one step closer to his childhood dream, after being invited to trial with National Rugby League (NRL) powerhouse the Melbourne Storm in December.

The 18-year-old, who is of Tongan origin, caught the eye of talent scouts when playing for the Griffith Black and Whites league club.

“I made my first-grade debut this year,” he said. “I’ve been overlooked seven times by the [Canberra] Raiders, I was under their system for a solid three years, but now the Storm gave me that confidence by inviting me to play with them.”

“At first, they will be observing us train. Then on 10 December we will have a trial. Not long after that they will select their [2023] squad … I’d love to play for the Storm – what the jersey represents, I really respect that club.”

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Mr Liu was also voted best and fairest for the Under 18 Black and Whites this year. Region caught up with him at his year 12 graduation, where he reflected on his achievements, time at school and shared his plans for the future.

Semisi Liu dressed in black.

Semisi Liu at his graduation. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Name: Semisi Liu (Also known as: “Omega”).

Age: 18.

Schools: Murrumbidgee Regional (high school), Griffith Public (primary).

Best memory of school: I don’t really have one. Everything is a blur.

Naughtiest thing you ever did at school: I never did anything naughty. I have a clean slate, I was a very good student.

Teachers that inspired you: Brad Clark, Matt Rumming and Anthony Catanzariti.

One thing you’d change about the education system: This year we tried a mentor thing with teachers. I think we should expand that to build better characters and develop personalities.

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Role model: David Goggins (American runner). He’s a bit of a tough nut. When things get tough you got to get tougher.

Famous person you most admire and why: Christiano Ronaldo (Portugese soccer star). He is the hardest worker. He built himself up from the ground. He is self-made, which is something I can relate to.

Plans for next year: I’m hoping to get a contract with the Melbourne Storm. You’ve got to chase your dreams when you can. Studying and working will come down the line.

Griffith Black and Whites team

Griffith Black and Whites U18 grand final team with Semisi Liu (front row, sixth from left). Photo: Griffith Black and Whites, Facebook.

Best advice you ever got from your parents: From my dad – it doesn’t matter how big you are or how fast you are, it’s about what’s inside your chest. If you can display your heart, no matter what circumstances, it’s a very good thing.

Social issue you most care about: Men’s mental health. It’s something that’s swept under the rug. A lot of guys don’t speak out about it a lot. It’s not weak to speak. I remember seeing a video of Paul Green (rugby league star), he suffered from depression for 20 years but never spoke about it once. I think it’s important we take a step forward with men’s mental health.

Special skills: I play a bit of guitar. I do some songs, most of which are self-taught.

What will you miss most about Griffith: The people. I’ve grown up here and people are so laid-back. Being Tongan, our social structure is based on family, very heavily. That’s something I’ll miss.

What’s one thing you won’t miss about Griffith: It’s sort of boring. But sometimes it’s good to be boring. There was nothing else to do so I would just train. It gives me that extra edge, that drive to train harder.

Will you come back to Griffith? Why/why not: Yeah maybe one day down the track. I could become a teacher at Murrumbidgee Regional High School.

Career dream: To represent Tonga in rugby league. There’s a lot of sacrifice that comes with our bloodlines. To one day represent that hardship and that sacrifice would mean a lot to me.

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