Willie Talau

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Viliamu (Willie) Talau (born 25 January 1976, in Samoa) is a New Zealand professional rugby league footballer who plays for English club Salford City Reds of Super League. A Samoa and New Zealand international representative three-quarter back, he has played club football previously in the National Rugby League for the Bulldogs as well as for St Helens.

Playing career

Early years

Talau played for the Taranaki Rockets in the Lion Red Cup. At 21, his father gave him a one-way ticket to Australia to try his luck playing league. While playing in the metropolitan Cup he was spotted by the Canterbury Bulldogs who signed him to play in the National Rugby League. In the 1994 Lion Red Cup Talau played in nine matches, scoring one try. He then played in all 22 matches for the Rockets in the 1995 season.

He played in 101 National Rugby League games for the Bulldogs, scoring 38 tries, including one in the 1998 NRL Grand Final loss to the Broncos. Talau was selected for the New Zealand team to compete in the end of season 1999 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Australia he played at centre in the Kiwis' 22-20 loss.

St Helens

Talau has 13 New Zealand caps and played for the Kiwis at Old Trafford in the 2000 World Cup Final.

He signed for St. Helens in late 2003, having previously played for Canterbury Bulldogs. He made his Super League debut on 24 August 2003 against Hull.

Talau scored two tries in the 2004 Challenge Cup Final, and participated in St Helens' 2006 treble, scoring in both the 2006 Challenge Cup Final and the 2006 Super League Grand Final. Talau scored 11 tries in 29 games during the 2006 season. As 2006 Super League champions, St Helens faced 2006 NRL Premiers the Brisbane Broncos in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Talau played at centre in the Saints' 18-14 victory.

He played in 2008's Super League XIII Grand Final defeat to the Leeds Rhinos.[1]

Salford

Talau joined European Super League side Salford City Reds for the start 2009 season.[2][3]

Representative career

A Junior Kiwis representative, Talau played in 13 games for the New Zealand Kiwis from 1999 to 2006, including the 2000 World Cup.

In 2007 Talau switched allegiances to Samoa. The following year he represented Samoa in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, playing two matches.[4][5]

Legacy

In 2008 he was named in the Taranaki Rugby League Team of the Century.[6]

References