Try scoring machine Feliuia Lene confident Sunnybank can maintain form after UQ upset
By Liam Cook
Sunnybank’s David Feliuia Lene believes the confidence his side has taken from their surprise win over UQ will help them push Brothers at Crosby Park this Saturday.
“Now that we are off the bottom of the table we want to push for that top four spot,” Feliuia Lene told Rugy News
“I think it’s possible as a team as long as we back up our performance from the last few weeks and keep improving.”
The Dragon’s centre has been instrumental in securing wins from two of his sides last three outings.
Despite only playing in the last four games, Feliuia Lene’s impact has seen Sunnybank improve to their sixth spot after a winless opening month.
Sunnybank produced the upset of the 2022 season against UQ last weekend, a performance that gives the team tremendous belief according to Feliuia Lene.
“Coming up against UQ, we had a lot of players unavailable so it was a good opportunity for everyone who got the chance to play to step up and take on their role or position.”
“I didn’t really expect too much from our team, I just wanted us boys to go out and give it our best.
“After a slow start to that game, I think the half-time score gave the boys a bit of belief and confidence to finish the game strong and it turned out to be a good game.”
The powerful back has scored four tries in his past two games and been involved in numerous attacking forays for Sunnybank.
After missing the opening month negotiating his release from Romania’s Baia Mare, the centre says he was more than ready to play when his opportunity came.
“I just played four games ago… before that I didn’t play any footy since November last year in South Africa against the Cheetahs.”
“After not playing for a while I didn’t think I had the fitness for QPR rugby but I had a pretty big pre-season with Sunnybank.
“I watched their first few games on the sidelines and was getting itchy feet to get out there and play some footy again.”
Feliuia Lene credits his teammates for his and the team’s consistent form in recent weeks.
“The last four games I’ve just been trying to do my part for the team and influence the team in any way I can to try get some wins under our belts. I feel like I’ve been pretty consistent though.”
“I’m not really doing much to score I just have to catch it and put it down so full credit to those boys in the middle who get it out to me.”
Many of his Dragon’s teammates have gone under the radar in season 2022, according to Feliuia Lene.
“I think all the boys have stood up.”
“I feel like we’re really underrated as a backline. We got a lot of talent in the back three, our wingers and anyone filling in those spots.
Feliuia Lene believes Sunnybank’s forward pack has also led the side’s form reversal, particularly Josh Fenner.
“The forwards have really turned it around after coming off a tough day against Souths and going up against another strong forward pack in UQ. They were able to put their hands up individually and do their job as best as they can.”
“We’ve got players like Josh Fenner who’s been playing outstanding footy week in, week out. He brings that excitement and energy to the team that rubs off on all of us especially in that last game where we got up against a really strong UQ team.”
The Dragon’s talent only began playing rugby union toward the end of his schooling years.
Having grown up primarily playing rugby league, Feliuia Lene’s decision to pursue a career in rugby union has been a fruitful one.
“It wasn’t until my last year of school were we had a rugby union team. It was just a muck around with a bunch of league boys who had no idea what they were doing and I had a lot of fun doing it.”
“I went down to Sunnybank in the colts and played there just for fun at first.
“I took a two-year break and went over to Fiji to do my mission so there was no footy for me for two years. I got back when I was twenty and wasn’t thinking of playing seriously so I went back to Sunnybank and got some fitness and footy under me and slowly opportunities came.”
After playing for the Samoan based side in the Global Rapid Rugby competition, Feliuia Lene was presented with an opportunity to play in Romania.
“The coach I had going over to Romania had a pretty big impact in my game.
“He’s coached their national team and been to New Zealand with the Crusaders where he got a bit of experience.
“He brought a bit of knowledge back to our club in Romania and taught me a lot as a player.”
The centre stayed in Romania for two seasons before the lure of home saw him back in Australia ready for pre-season at Sunnybank.
Feliuia Lene is hopeful a strong season may open new career opportunities. For now, he’s more than happy helping Sunnybank climb their way up the ladder in season 2022.
“Personally, I just want to play some good footy for my team and see where my footy can take me in Australia or overseas or wherever.”