Capras' star player announced as latest NRL export
RUGBY LEAGUE: On Wednesday night, Central Queensland Capras' front rower Aaron Pene officially signed on as the Melbourne Storm's latest recruit.
Coach David Faiumu said he was "so happy” for one of his team's "shining lights” this season.
"He came here with a mission to play well and he has,” Faiumu said.
"When an opportunity like that comes, you grab it with both hands, enjoy it and soak up the experience.
"It proves that when you work hard and put in the effort, you get rewards, and he's got them.
"He has a long way to go obviously but he's going to one of the best clubs in the world with arguably one of the best coaches in the game.”
The Penrith import had impressed officials this year, not only through his size but through racking up impressive runs and consistently running plays over short distances and breaking tackles.
His former coach said he would have some of the highest metres in the Intrust Super Cup and that his "unreal” leg speed and defensive prowess would've made him stand-out to Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
"Aaron doesn't come from here but he's gone through our system and has been part of our development this year,” Faiumu said.
"This place is not short of talent, as we've seen with Munster, Hunt and all the other players before him.
"It proves that if you work hard, you can still shine in a team that's down on the bottom.”
Faiumu said when he signed Pene, he told him to use the Rockhampton-based team as a "stepping stone to bigger and better things”.
"No matter how long it takes, if you play well the opportunities will come your way. They came a bit earlier than I expected,” he said.
"It will hurt us a little bit. We're down on troops a bit.
"But I want him to go enjoy life and enjoy life as a professional footballer.”
Faiumu said the Melbourne team was the perfect fit for Pene, and that he would benefit from the coaching staff on hand to help him on his game.
"It's going to be so good for his development as a player,” Faiumu said.
"I can see him as a player for the NRL once he learns a few different things and works on his game and various types of game.
"There are a lot of coaches down there, it's a good system and a professional outfit. I couldn't recommend Pene for them highly enough.”
Pene is currently in Melbourne and will head straight into training tomorrow alongside the likes of Cameron Smith.
"He probably won't play in first grade for a while. If he plays this year I'll be very surprised,” Faiumu said.
"He'll feed into one of their feeder clubs like Sunshine Coast Falcons or East Tigers, and he may play us in a few weeks.
"But to train with those boys is unreal. That's what I'm most proud about, that he gets the opportunity to do that.”