Why Koroibete will be right at home against Ireland
AFTER five years as a Storm and Rebels resident, Marika Koroibete will already be feeling well and truly "at home" when he plays his first Test for the Wallabies at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
But there will be an extra special homely touch for Koroibete when he runs out against Ireland on Saturday night at the venue: it will be the first time his parents have ever seen him play rugby.
Koroibete's mum Sainiyana and dad Iliesa have flown in from their village of Naraiyawa, near Suva, to watch their son play for Australia.
They've only ever seen Marika play once before in rugby league, too, in an NRL game in Sydney.
"It would be a great feeling to get a win, especially with my parents here. It's their first time watching me play Super Rugby or play for Australia," Koroibete said.
"To get a win would mean a lot to me, in front of my parents and family."
Koroibete first set foot on AAMI Park in 2014 when he made his debut for the Storm. He finished up in rugby league at the end of 2016 in Melbourne's losing Grand Final team, after being poached by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and the Rebels.
The fact the Rebels share a home ground with the Storm meant Koroibete didn't even have to change his daily commute to work, and he has continued to be a dominant force at the ground - both in attack and defence - playing rugby union.
"I have great memories of AAMI Park and hopefully I can make some more this weekend," Koroibete said.
"It feels like home for me. From being with the Storm and now the Rebels, I feel confident playing there. Hopefully I can lift my game this week and I'll try to hopefully get a try at AAMI Park."
The speedster was denied a try in the first Test after being stopped by rising Irish wing Jacob Stockdale, but Koroibete's crunching tackling laid an early marker for a muscular night in defence by the hosts.
"I just put my body there, sometimes it works, sometimes you go bump off. It is a good feeling when you get someone and get your timing right. It's a good feeling doing that for your teammates," Koroibete said.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Koroibete's work ethic - as measured by in-game GPS data - was among the highest in the team.
"He works hard and he loves his footy. Again, not perfect in all things, but he's intent is really great to have on the team and his work rate is immense," Cheika said.
Koroibete said it was just a matter of desire to want to "run hard and tackle hard".
"That comes from the work I did at the Storm. They work hard there and it is in me. I don't have to think about it. I just go with the flow," he said.
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