Mahe Fonua can’t wait to be a “menace” on behalf of the legendary Ellery Hanley.
Blockbusting Castleford and Tonga centre Fonua features for the Combined Nations All Stars against England on Saturday. Iconic ex-Great Britain captain Hanley is in charge of the All Stars – 14 years after his last coaching gig. Renowned as one of rugby league’s greats, he famously helped Balmain Tigers to the 1988 Australian Grand Final.
Wigan hero Hanley also starred with Western Suburbs the following year. Fonua, 29, wasn’t even born then but played for Wests Tigers – the NRL club formed when the two Sydney rivals merged. He said: “There’s photos of Ellery around (Balmain’s) Leichhardt Oval.
“And when you see footage on Channel 9 of flashbacks of the Wests Tigers legends, he’s always in there. Looking at how fast he was I always thought he was a winger, not a lock or centre. He was so quick and agile.
“Obviously, people over here know more about him and coming into camp the boys were talking about Ellery. I’ve enjoyed speaking with him.”
And Hanley has had one message for 16 stone ex-Hull star Fonua ahead of the World Cup warm-up in Warrington.
He said: “Ellery just wants me to be a handful. Anytime I carry the ball, be as destructive as I can.
“There’s some big England boys and if I tire them out a bit it puts us one step towards the direction we want to go. He told me to just be a menace.”