Fatialofa feels his best is yet to come
ALONG with the rest of his team-mates, Cornish Pirates centre Junior Fatialofa enjoyed an unexpected weekend off following the postponement of last Friday's Championship game at Newcastle Falcons.
And with the business end of the season coming into view he is determined to up his game. The 32 year-old New Zealander rejoined the club in the summer from Bristol having originally made his debut in January 2004 against Exeter Chiefs, who he was to move on to several months later.
Having played more than 100 times for the Chiefs followed by four seasons at the Memorial Ground, he returned to the Mennaye where he has become a key member of the Pirates midfield, scoring one try in 15 appearances to date. But Fatialofa has sounded a warning that there is more to come.
"I didn't play too much last season and I think I'm still trying to find my feet a little bit," he said. "I'm not quite there yet performance-wise but hopefully at the back end of the season I will get into some type of form. At the moment I think I'm pretty average by the standards I set and it would be nice to contribute more to the team."
10% Oil Fired Central Heating Servicing and Repair OAP and Armed...View details
Beat the Cornish weather with this great oil fired central heating servicing and repair offer from JonnyOilman. 10% Discount on servicing and repair of oil fired boilers in mid and west Cornwall
Terms: Armed Forces and OAPs Only
Contact: 0800 9558559
Valid until: Wednesday, June 26 2013
Fatialofa stayed at the Pirates long enough in his first spell in Cornwall to secure their place in National League One during a difficult first season at Level 2 of English rugby. He earned a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense customer on the field and has always been popular with supporters wherever he has played.
Now he is focused on getting the Pirates into the league play-offs and quietly admitted to enjoying the memorable New Year's Day win over his former club, Bristol.
He said: "It's always nice to get one over on your former employer but it was nice for the team to get the five points and the momentum.
"Just going up the table is the important thing and from a team perspective it was a game which was going to define how our season went, either way, from there.
"We were either going to push on to the top four or be fighting it out in that group in the middle, which we still are, but that result gave us a lot of confidence."
A cup defeat at Carmarthen Quins on their last outing was a huge disappointment, but the man from Wellington, New Zealand feels that it may actually benefit the Pirates in the long run.
"When you go away and play cup games like at Carmarthen you have to be on the ball and treat it like a competition game," he said. "You won't get any favours from the home crowd or the conditions and refereeing decisions will favour the home team most of the time.
"We know where we went wrong at Carmarthen and it was a timely reminder to us as a group and maybe it was coming. It was a good kick in the backside for us to push on and remember that if we are five per cent off our game we are not good enough to beat anyone."
Fatialofa admits that it has been enjoyable being back in Penzance and is mulling over a new deal to stay next season.
He said: "My family have really embraced living in Penzance and it has just been such an easy transition to move here from another club, and I feel really at home to be honest."
And with two big home games next month against Doncaster Knights and London Scottish, followed by the re-arranged game at Newcastle, he knows that February could be a defining month in the Pirates season.
"We can't rely on other teams to do us any favours," he said. "We have to go out on the field and put performances in. We can control what we can control and that is trying to win games in this league."