GENTLE GIANT: Queensland and Australian rugby representative Tevita Tui-Tia, 18, will be unleashed on the BRL for the Stanthorpe Gremlins this season.
GENTLE GIANT: Queensland and Australian rugby representative Tevita Tui-Tia, 18, will be unleashed on the BRL for the Stanthorpe Gremlins this season.

All-rounder a footy star

RUGBY LEAGUE: MEET Tevita Tui-Tia, the Gremlins' new wrecking machine set to be unleashed on an unsuspecting BRL in season 2015.

However, the club will have to share the busy teenager, who graduated from Downlands in Toowoomba, with an OP score of 3.

Tui is currently representing the Queensland under-22 rugby union squad, meaning he makes regular trips to Brisbane to train and play with the Reds.

Watching Tui in the gym and on the training paddock, you'd be forgiven for thinking this 18-year-old has been ripping in to opposition defensive lines since he was old enough to tie his shoelaces.

But the talented musician, academic and Australian schoolboys representative only started playing sport when he was 15.

"I tried sport for a year when I was younger, but I didn't think I was very good so I stopped," he said.

When he did discover a hidden passion for sport, he progressed through the schoolboy ranks remarkably fast.

"I probably played two games of rugby league and then decided to trial for the Darling Downs rugby team," Tui said.

"I wasn't very good but the coaches saw potential in me so they put me in the team.

"They just told me when you get the ball, run as hard as you can and when the other team has the ball just take them down, so I did."

Tui made the Combined Secondary School's team to play in the state championships in Brisbane.

He was then selected to play for the Queensland Schoolboys team and eventually the Australian schoolboys sides that have featured rugby league superstars no less than Wally Lewis, Michael O'Connor and Ricky Stuart.

Only three years after starting rugby, the former Kiwi was playing in the green and gold, touring England in 2013 and New Zealand last year.

Tui comes from a large family with three sisters, two brothers and his parents and admits he has had some mild home-sickness since moving to Stanthorpe to start an engineering apprenticeship.

"I miss home a lot, but it depends on how my day is going," he said.

"Sometimes when I'm here I want to go home, but when I get home I want to come back here."

Although his rugby league and union ability means he has the potential to make a big career out of football, the level-headed young man has many other aspirations.

"I would be happy to make a career out of engineering, health and fitness or music," Tui said.

"I can play all sorts of instruments and I've been singing all of my life.

"I'm at level 8 in piano, violin, guitar, drums, saxophone and keyboard.

"Engineering is good money and everything, but I'd love my passions to be my job and they're sport and music."

He hopes to spend as many weekends as possible playing for the Gremlins in 2015 and thinks the side has what it takes to have a successful season.

"We're going pretty well, the blokes are pretty fit, really fit actually," he said.

"I haven't had a game with them yet or seen them play but they train like a professional outfit.

"Hopefully I can spend some time in the centres but I'm happy playing second-row or at the front of the pack."

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