18 Nov 2022
Su'a credits 'Elvis' Parish with inspiring Samoan turnaround
The Samoa star is hoping to spring a surprise against the Kangaroos
By Paul Martin
Jaydn Su’a has spent the last month comparing Matt Parish to Elvis Presley and the pair are now conspiring to leave Australia all shook up in Saturday’s final.
The St. George Illawarra Dragons star featured at St James’ Park as Samoa were beaten 60-6 by England in the tournament opener but helped them earn revenge in style at the Emirates to set up their first appearance in a Rugby League World Cup final.
And Su’a identified the mulleted Parish’s reaction to their opening day disaster as pivotal to keeping spirits high in the Samoan camp, with results speaking for themselves ever since.
“After that first defeat, we could have gone either way,” he said.
“He brought us together and got us playing better. He was disappointed, like we all were, but one thing he said after the game was that he had 100 per cent belief in us, as we all did in ourselves.
“It has been good working with him – we all give him stick that he looks like Elvis!
“That first game wasn’t us, so to turn it around the way we have done and silence a lot of people, that’s what we wanted to do and we knew we were going to do.”
Samoa are prepared for a bruising battle against the Kangaroos and Su’a is among those likely to relish a physical encounter.
He was involved in a spicy confrontation with England’s Chris Hill after Samoa performed the Siva Tau prior to the semi-final, the pair having to be separated by their teammates.
Jarome Luai, never a shrinking violet, was also front and centre of the pre-match war dance and Sua has backed his teammate to walk the walk as well as talking the talk on the big occasion.
“I’ve played against him [Luai] in some pretty important games before,” he said.
“He’s pretty good on the field, he talks a fair bit but that’s what makes him so good, he’s a competitor and he doesn’t like to lose. I love playing with him.
“He’s tried it with me a couple of times, sometimes I try and ignore it but it is what it is. Until that final whistle blows, he’ll be into you.”
Su’a and his teammates know they have made history whatever happens at Old Trafford and their exploits have led to a surge in Samoan pride across the globe.
The prospect of a potential celebratory homecoming is one the 25-year-old is relishing and he added: “There have been chats about it and I’d be pretty excited if it did happen.
“It would be huge. We are very proud people and we’re loving the support we have had through social media. It’s incredible.”
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets