Tino Fa’asuamaleaui Says His Family Faced Online Hate After Matt Burton State of Origin Incident

“Origin footy, and football in general, is about having your teammate’s back.

“I don’t know if you were at the Canterbury game a few weeks later, but I drank it even more. The whole crowd jumped on board. I’ve never experienced this before.

Following Burton’s return to the Bulldogs, his Canterbury teammate Tevita Pangai jnr made it known he was angry with Fa’asuamaleaui and vowed to take matters into his own hands if given the opportunity.

Pangai jnr told the Herald at the time: “I wasn’t happy with what I saw…I love Burto and I don’t like to see these kinds of things happen to him.”

Burton had no problem with Fa’asuamaleaui and was disappointed when told of the abuse he had suffered. He joked that he might try giving Fa’asuamaleaui his own “little headache”.

“We talked about it after it happened – we’re teammates now and I can’t wait to hang out with him,” Burton said. “But that’s not the case when families are attacked. He’s been great all year and it’s great to have him on this side.

Burton and Fa’asuamaleaui are among the main contenders for the PM XIII who will be selected by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga for the Rugby World Cup in England in October and November.

Burton has utility value, while Fa’asuamaleaui is one of the few Samoa-eligible players to prioritize Kangaroos. Fa’asuamaleaui won the Gold Coast’s Paul Broughton Medal as player of the year for the second consecutive year.

“I was very tempted to play [with Samoa]but after sitting down and having a long talk with my mum, dad and family, I decided I wanted to try playing for Australia,” Fa’asuamaleaui said.

“My father [Fereti] is a big influence in my life, and he said to me: ‘You should commit to Australia’. Australia has long been the best of the best, and I always wanted to achieve that.

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“I hope I will have my chance to do it after Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Burton has said little about his future at Belmore, and while he is expected to stay with the club, particularly with the arrival of Cameron Ciraldo as head coach, the southpaw mortal said, “I’m happy at the moment.”

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