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Dolphins' Hammer set for Titans after time in the Sun

Joe Gould -

Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow will play the Gold Coast away on Saturday night in the NRL, but if he'd made a different decision as a teenager he could instead be lining up for the Suns in the AFL.

Such was Cairns-raised Tabuai-Fidow's talent as a youth in all sports that he was in the emerging Queensland Reds system and the Suns' Far North AFL academy, while also shining as a junior in rugby league.

The North Queensland Cowboys initially won the battle for the Queensland flyer's services, but the Suns were also in the race.

"I was pretty close to signing with (the Suns). I sat down with my manager and had a meeting about which way I wanted to go," Tabuai-Fidow told AAP.

"I still had a big love for league and that was the sport I played mostly growing up. It was the right choice to go back up to Townsville and sign with the Cowboys.

"The Suns were very good to me and I enjoyed my time playing Aussie rules. I played in the midfield and centre half-forward growing up.

"I looked up to Buddy Franklin. He is a proud Indigenous man and what he has done in the game is pretty special."

The 22-year-old Torres Strait Islander star, known universally as "Hammer'', is fresh from a bye after scoring his first career hat-trick in the 38-0 demolition of St George Illawarra in round two.

He now has 39 tries in 72 games, a better strike rate than his idol Matt Bowen, who scored 130 tries in 270 matches for the Cowboys.

Tabuai-Fidow spoke on Tuesday in Caboolture at the launch of a partnership between the Dolphins and the Indigenous organisation Deadly Choices, which promotes healthy lifestyles.

He said following in Bowen's footsteps had long been on his agenda.

"He was a big influence on me wanting to play in the NRL," Tabuai-Fidow said.

"He is from up north (Queensland) too, so he was pretty easy for me to look up to with what he has done in the game and what he has created.

"We play in the same position, but I loved the way he could get across the park with the speed he had. It was cool to watch."

Tabuai-Fidow's totem is the shark. He has gestured with a fin on top of his head after scoring a try since his Cowboys days, but now it is fitting at the Dolphins, where "Phins Up'' is the catchcry.

"It is good to show my culture out there for the younger generation. I see kids do it now and it is special," he said.

"I am excited to get back out there this week. The big thing for me is to attack the game early instead of waiting for it.

"If I do get my hands on the ball early, that will give me a huge confidence boost."

Joe Gould - AAP


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