Thursday, November 27, 2014

Countdown to Spirit Football: The Offensive Line

Countdown to Spirit Football: The Offensive Line

By Graeme Wong
Spirit News
June 23, 2072

Coffs Harbour, NSW is where the Leafa Spirit's offensive line are based. The town has one of the largest Samoan communities in the country outside of the big cities and many work in the fishing and tourism industries. Too big and too slow for rugby league, Leafa's offensive line brings discipline, height and resiliency and is capable of holding its own against the best in the NCAA Division I FBS.

The left tackles are Herman Wallwork, Mike Tuitama and Stafford Ropati. Wallwork is the great-great-grandson of disgraced IOC member Paul Wallwork and was a part-time weightlifter before turning to gridiron. Ropati has a number of cousins who played for USC, UCLA and Hawai'i. Tuitama's father, Fred, played for the Sydney Roosters as a prop from 2056-65 before going into the fisheries business.

Jacob Esera and Gino Fatu are the left guards. Esera's great-grandfather, Tala Esera, played for Hawai'i decades ago. Fatu almost became an Olympic weightlifter, before the recent cloud of scandals regarding doping caused him to change course and play gridiron. The centres are Neil Tuilaepa and Casey Fasi. Tuilaepa's father, Nell, spent eight seasons playing professionally in Canada after a storied career at the University of Washington. Fasi is the great-great-grandson of former American politician Frank Fasi and is a political science major.

The right guards are Erik Taulealo, Gordon Feao, and Junior Tagaloa. Taulealo's father, Heikoti, played for the Samoan national rugby union team for 12 years and had a long career as a numbe 8 for Bath Rugby. Feao is the great-grandson of Vonn Feao, a one-time Little League star in Hawai'i. Tagaloa has an extended family that lives in Long Beach, Calif. and Kailua-Kona, Haw. and comes from a family of accomplished offensive and defensive linemen. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather all played in the NFL at the same position he now plays.

Finally, the right tackles are Marco Sapolu and Harry Mataafa. Sapolu is a descendant of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jesse Sapolu and aspires to play for the San Francisco 49ers. Mataafa comes from a family of rappers and poets and is an English major, with aspirations of teaching at the secondary school level.