Parramatta youngster John Folau admits he still stands in his older brother Israel’s shadow, both figuratively and literally.
“He’s still taller than me,” Folau said to reporters on Monday when discussing his sibling, a dual international who has featured in three different professional football codes during his career.
While Folau is only starting on his own sporting journey, having debuted for the Eels in round three of this year’s NRL season, the 20-year-old is already making an impression of his own.
Folau is 19th man for Tonga ahead of Saturday’s Pacific Test clash with island rivals Samoa on the Gold Coast.
Although unlikely to make his representative debut for his ancestral homeland, if Folau does get a chance to play for the Mate Ma’a, it’ll give him something to laud over big brother, with Israel’s many sporting teams not including Tonga.
“Hopefully,” Folau told AAP.
“It’s just good to be here. To work with the boys we have in this squad, I’ve grown up watching them so just to come here and be able to train with them is something special.”
Folau is obviously having to deal with the expectation that comes with his family name.
Softly spoken despite his 193cm frame, Folau says dealing with that pressure is simple, he just focuses on playing the game.
“I love the sport, it’s what I enjoy doing,” he said.
“I just go out there and have fun, focus on what I can do to become the best version of myself.”