Jets import family man
FAMILY means everything to new Ipswich Jets recruit Tu'u Maori.
He writes it on his wrist to motivate himself before each game of football he plays.
Family is the reason the Papua New Guinea international tried his luck with NRL clubs Cronulla, Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm, where he was just one spot outside the top 17-man squad last season.
It is also what brought him to Ipswich.
"It was a last-minute thing," the 23-year-old outside back said from Jets training on Monday.
"I was looking for a club after leaving the Melbourne Storm.
"It didn't go well down there."
So the search for a new club began and when his manager made contact with the Jets, both parties reached an agreement.
It suited Maori because he has family at Karana Downs, with whom he is staying while he searches for a place to live.
"It was probably the best deal for me and my little family," he said.
Maori and partner Lucy are the parents of three-month-old A.J.
"It seemed good enough to start off with my family," he said.
"I'm looking forward to what the future holds."
Maori has been encouraged with what he's seen in the fortnight he's spent with the Jets so far.
"I love it," he said.
"I can't wait to find a place to settle down.
"I've got a job at the Dinmore meatworks.
"It's not the same as at the Melbourne Storm but the physio's top class, the doctor and the coaching staff are excellent and the boys are real cool.
"Everyone's been welcoming."
Things might not have gone entirely to plan at the Storm but Maori emerged from his stint there a better and smarter footballer.
"I learnt a lot," he said.
"So much about not giving up, not showing weakness and a lot about defence.
"They really work on it because attack comes naturally. I learned a lot both on and off the field."
Maori's motivation now is to provide for his young family.
But he originally left his home in Auckland to try and make a name for himself to provide a better life for his parents.
"That desire is still there," he said.
"But now I've got a daughter and partner, it changes everything."
So while he is determined to give his all for the Jets, Maori admits he is eyeing a chance at something more.
"My goal is to get into the Queensland Cup first," he said.
"In the long term, I'd like to have a look at the Titans."
Biggest influence: My family.
Favourite player: Greg Inglis.
Best advice: Don't give up.
Favourite food: Island food - Taro and chop suey.
Favourite TV show: Modern Family.
Pre-game ritual: I pray before each game. I also write my brother and nana's names and "family" on my wrist.