UK Super League mission for frustrated Tasi
THE coming two years are likely to test Lama Tasi like no other.
Not wanted by the Broncos or any other NRL club for 2014, Tasi has made the decision to sign with the Salford Red Devils in the UK Super League for the next two seasons.
When Tasi was picked up from the Sydney Roosters by the Brisbane Broncos mid-season this year, it seemed everything was falling into place for the 23-year-old from Goodna.
He was delighted to join the Broncos this season because it gave him a crack in first grade but also because it meant a return to the family home.
Some cameos with Broncos feeder club the Ipswich Jets even gave him the chance to play alongside little brother Tasi Tasi.
Family means everything to the big prop.
At the end of the season, he went with his father to Auckland to visit his ill grandmother.
"You cherish those moments," he said. "Because I don't know when I will see her again."
He does not know when he will see any of his family again after he departs for England next month.
It could be almost a year before the opportunity arises.
Tasi's hand has been forced by a lack of NRL suitors.
"I spoke with a couple of NRL clubs," he said.
"Most had salary cap restrictions.
"England was a better option so I had to take it."
The Broncos had seemed like a lifeline this year, giving Tasi an opportunity to play NRL he wasn't getting at the Roosters, where he was forced to play for their feeder club, the Newtown Jets.
But after a strong start, he saw his playing time diminish to the point he figured he was better off getting more game time elsewhere.
Unfortunately that meant travelling more than 16, 000km away.
"It could have been the same next year (had I re-signed with the Broncos)," Tasi said.
"I have to do what's best for me.
"If that means more exposure and game time by playing in England, then that's where it is.
"I'll obviously miss my family but at the end of the day, they'll support me.
"It is the best option for me.
"They're happy as long as I'm happy."
A positive thinker most of the time, Tasi still had to overcome intense disappointment before he again reached his "happy" state.
"I won't lie," he said.
"I was pretty disappointed not to re-sign with the Broncos because after coming back home, I was happy.
"I was starting to enjoy my football again.
"I was not getting as much game time as I would have liked but I'd rather be playing first grade than Queensland Cup."