Taniela Tuiaki

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Taniela Tuiaki
Taniela Tuiaki (26 April 2009).jpg
Tuiaki in 2009
Personal information
Nickname TNT, The Tank
Born (1982-05-02) 2 May 1982 (age 35)
Auckland, New Zealand
Playing information
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Weight 105 kg (16 st 7 lb)
Position Wing
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2006–09 Wests Tigers 78 42 0 0 168
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2006 Tonga 3 3 0 0 12
2007 New Zealand 4 1 0 0 4

Taniela Tuiaki (born 2 May 1982 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a retired New Zealand professional rugby league player who played for the Wests Tigers in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) competition. Tuiaki was a versatile player but primarily played on the wing.[2][3]

Playing career[edit]


Tuiaki played junior football with North Curl Curl. He made his NRL debut after switching from Rugby union,[4] playing on the wing for the Wests Tigers against the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium in round 11 of the 2006 season. He scored two tries on debut, and was a regular on the wing for the next three and a half years.

Playing in every club game for 2007, Tuiaki scored 6 tries in the last 7 weeks. In the second half of the season, he spent a three-week stint in the second row. He managed 20 games in 2008, scoring his first treble against the Warriors at Leichhardt Oval on June 29.

In round 23 of the 2009 season, Tuiaki scored three tries, taking him to the top of the try-scoring table for the season with a total of 21.[5] A broken ankle in round 24 while playing against the Parramatta Eels sidelined Tuiaki for the remainder of the season.[6] At the time he was leading or well-ranked in many NRL stats, including line-breaks and tackle busts.[7]

In 2009, Tuiaki was named winger of the year in the Dally M awards[8] and the Big League team of the year.[9] He also set the record for most tries scored in a season by a Wests Tigers player.

Still suffering from the injury suffered at the end of 2009, Tuiaki failed to make any appearances in the 2010 season. There were some doubts whether Tuiaki would ever make a full recovery, and Wests Tigers signed him to an incentive-based contract for 2011, with bonuses for playing in set number of games.[10]

Despite undergoing three operations, the ankle had still not gained full strength when Tuiaki announced his retirement before the start of the 2011 season, saying, "It's a real disappointment. I can't keep running, even after all these surgeries – it's not getting better."[11]


Tuiaki represented Tonga in two international matches against England in 2006, scoring a try in each game.[12][13]

In October, 2007, Tuiaki was cleared to play for New Zealand against Australia in the 2007 Centenary Test.[14] He went on to play in the three match series loss to the Great Britain Lions in England in October–November 2007, scoring a try in the final game.[15]

He was named in the New Zealand training squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.[16]

Tuiaki was named in the Tonga squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.[17] Although he was not selected for the final New Zealand squad, Tuiaki was not allowed to play for Tonga as the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) deemed him ineligible. Tonga appealed the decision but the NSW Supreme Court declined to grant an injunction which would enable Tuiaki and Fuifui Moimoi to play in Tonga's opening match.[18]


  1. ^ "Player profile". Wests Tigers. Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "Taniela Tuiaki". Rugby League Project. 29 June 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  3. ^ "Tigers ride Tuiaki freight train". Fox Sports. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  4. ^ Gee, Steve (31 July 2009). "Wests Tigers winger Taniela Tuiaki tops NRL linebreaking and tackle busting stats". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  5. ^ Magnay, Jacquelin (17 August 2009). "Tuiaki show rolls on with hat-trick, and he has more tricks in the tank". Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "Tuiaki gone with broken leg". ABC News. 22 August 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Gee, Steve (31 July 2009). "Wests Tigers winger Taniela Tuiaki tops NRL linebreaking and tackle busting stats". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "Dally M Awards – full list". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). 8 September 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  9. ^ Middleton, David (Editor); 2009 Official Rugby League Annual; published 2010 for the National Rugby League by News Magazines, Alexandria NSW, 2015
  10. ^ Glenn Jackson (20 August 2010). "Gone for season but not forgotten: Tigers re-sign Tuiaki to incentive-based deal". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  11. ^ Adrian Proszenko (6 February 2011). "Ankle injury forces Tuiaki to call it quits". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "England 32–14 Tonga". BBC Sport. 12 November 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2007. 
  13. ^ "England 40–18 Tonga". BBC. 29 October 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2007. 
  14. ^ "Moimoi and Tuiaki cleared to play". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2007. 
  15. ^ "Lions sweep New Zealand". Fox Sports news (Australia). 11 November 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  16. ^ "Kiwis select Sonny Bill". Sky Sports. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  17. ^ "Samoa, Tonga and Fiji name squads". BBC. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
  18. ^ "Court refuses Tongan pair Fuifui Moimoi and Taniela Tuiaki to play against Ireland". The Australian. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 

External links[edit]