Kalifa Faifai Loa
|Born||29 January 1990|
Wellington, New Zealand
|Height||180 cm (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||97 kg (15 st 4 lb)|
As of 23 February 2018
Kalifa Faifai Loa (born 29 January 1990) is a professional rugby league footballer who plays for the Townsville Blackhawks in the Queensland Cup. A New Zealand, and Samoa national representative winger, he previously played for the North Queensland Cowboys, Gold Coast Titans, and St. George Illawarra Dragons.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Faifai Loa is of Samoan and Māori descent and played his junior football for the Marist Saints in the Auckland Rugby League competition, before being signed by the Newcastle Knights. He played for the Knights' Toyota Cup team in 2008, scoring 7 tries in 10 games. The Knights sacked Faifai Loa at the end of the season after multiple disciplinary breaches. Faifai Loa said about the incident, "During my time at the Knights, some stuff happened, as it does when you're young, and I got kicked out of some homestays and that sort of thing, I also got done for drink-driving and obviously the Knights decided not to re-sign me. I remember being really homesick and I just drank and stuff like that."
St. George Illawarra Dragons
Faifai Loa returned to New Zealand before signing a contract with the St. George Illawarra Dragons starting in 2009. As a 20-year-old, Faifai Loa scored 12 tries and broke near 100 tackles throughout the 2009 Toyota Cup season. In 2010 he averaged over 200 metres a game and scored 11 tries in 13 appearances. Altogether, he scored 29 tries in 45 games and being named in the 2010 National Youth Competition Team of the Year. In Round 11 of the 2010 NRL season he made his NRL debut for the Dragons against the Canberra Raiders. In his second NRL game, Faifai Loa scored 2 tries. At the end of 2010, it appeared that salary cap demands would force him out of the Dragons. Faifai Loa is cousins with fellow New Zealand international Jeremy Smith. Faifai Loa lived with Smith when they were playing for the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
In July 2010, Faifai Loa signed a 2-year contract with the North Queensland Cowboys starting in 2011. In 2017 He heads for England to join up with the Widnes Vikings after being recommended by the legend Andy Cunningham.
North Queensland Cowboys
After the 2011 season, Faifai Loa was selected to make his international debut for New Zealand in the test match against Australia at Ausgrid Stadium. He was then selected in the New Zealand squad for the 2011 Four Nations tournament, scoring his first international try in the tournament's opening match against Australia.
In December 2011, Faifai Loa re-signed with the Cowboys for 2 years.
Gold Coast Titans
Faifai Loa played nine games for the Titans in 2014, scoring 4 tries.
In 2015, Faifai Loa represented the Queensland Residents. He went on to play 7 NRL games for the Titans in the same year, scoring 5 tries.
Return to the St. George Illawarra Dragons
On 12 October 2015, Faifai Loa signed a 2-year contract with the St. George Illawarra Dragons starting in 2016, returning to his first team. He was a member of the Illawarra Cutters 2016 Intrust Super Premiership grand final winning side.
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- "League: Honour for young Warrior". New Zealand Herald. APN Holdings NZ. 31 August 2010.
- Barrow, Tim (7 July 2010). "NRL salary cap: Fai Fai Loa may be forced out". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax Media.
- "NRL: Smith cleared of Hopoate-like poke". New Zealand Herald. APN Holdings NZ. 29 April 2011.
- "Fai Fai Loa to bolster new-look backline". Townsville Bulletin. The North Queensland Newspaper Company. 24 July 2010.
- "Draw Results". Cowboys.com.au. Telstra Bigpond.
- "2011 Rookie of the Year – our main contenders". www.cowboys.com.au. 5 October 2011. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- Dillon, Robert (15 October 2011). "Faifai goes from Knights discard to Test player". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- Walter, Brad (29 October 2011). "Five-star Thurston takes command for Kangaroos". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Faifai Loa to remain a Cowboy until 2014. Kalifa is now playing for the Gold Coast Titans from the 2014 season onwards. rleague.com, 16 December 2011
- "Dragons duo join the Mendi Blackhawks". Townsville Blackhawks.