‘Good way for me to finish’: Harris-Tavita eyeing Samoan swansong


It has raised hopes that Samoa could mirror the emergence of Tonga as an international force.

“One-hundred per cent,” Harris-Tavita said. “If you look at this team on paper, it’s very talented, but there’s still guys that are a chance of coming back if they choose not to play for Australia.

Jazz Tevaga is all smiles during Samoa’s training session ahead of Saturday night’s clash with the Cook Islands.Credit:Getty

“This team by itself will be pretty special if we get to keep it together for the World Cup. If we can get a few of those bigger inclusions who are playing Origin, that will bolster the squad. We will have the recipe to do something similar to what Tonga is doing at the moment.”

It’s a sentiment shared by May and Tago.

“There’s a lot of talented players we have in the squad we have here,” said May, a rookie of the year contender after scoring 14 tries from as many first-grade appearances. “They all bring their own thing to the team, their own special abilities. I think we can replicate what Tonga are doing.”

Panthers centre partner Tago added: “Tonga gave us the blueprint, they laid out the platform for all the Polynesian cultures. I think Samoa has the talent if everyone commits to it. I’m excited just to play.”

If the World Cup does mark the end of Harris-Tavita’s rugby league career, he will finish it a contented man. At this point, however, it’s unclear if there will be a comeback.

“That’s why I didn’t say I’m going to retire, I’m going to have a break,” he said. “If I find something else that keeps me from coming back to rugby league, then I will stick with that. If I do want to come back, I feel I’m young enough to get myself back into shape and fight my way back to the NRL or the Super League.

“There’s a lot of pressure that comes with being an NRL player, especially at a young age. I count writing as a hobby and wanting to travel at the same time has pushed me over the line with my decision.

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“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, you don’t get to play rugby league for a very long time, so you have to make the most of it when you are. I had to tell the people who needed to know [about my decision] and after a week it gave me a bit of time to reflect on it.

“I felt like it was a lot of weight off my shoulders and that’s when I knew it was the right decision.

“Even though I’m taking a break at the end of this year, I’m contracted to the end of the year and I’m keen to play in the World Cup. I’m going to keep training hard, working hard off the field so I can play well on the field.”

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