New Canberra Raiders winger Sisa Waqa playing for family

New Canberra Raiders winger Sisa Waqa playing for family

New Raiders winger Sisa Waqa hopes to have his Australian residency by the end of the year and a new house in Canberra by mid 2015, but he is still awaiting what will truly make the nation's capital feel like home.

"Everything I do is based on my family, so I'm excited to be bringing them here," Waqa says of his wife, Luisa, and three children, Sonny, Junior and Ariella.

 Sisa Waqa during a Canberra Raiders training session.

Sisa Waqa during a Canberra Raiders training session.

"Unfortunately they're not here with me yet because the boys are finishing school in Melbourne in the next few weeks.

"I'm used to my kids hanging around, especially when I come home from training. Even though the body's sore, having the kids there gives me strength, energy and smiles.


"Every day, I make sure I call them and talk to them just before they go to bed."

Waqa has taken a roundabout route to Canberra.

He was a schoolboy rugby union star who represented Fiji at Test level as a teenager. Later, he quit the police tactical response unit to pursue a professional sporting opportunity in Australia.

He was leading try-scorer for Sydney rugby team Gordon in the Sydney Shute Shield competition in 2008, drawing the attention of the ACT Brumbies. He signed with the Super Rugby club, but the contract was ruled ineligible because he had already represented Fiji and the Brumbies had filled their quota of foreign imports.

So he turned to the the NRL, first to the Sydney Roosters and then the Melbourne Storm.

In the past two seasons at the Storm he established himself as a senior player and a superb finisher, scoring 30 tries in 46 matches.

Now, finally in Canberra, six years after his initial deal with the Brumbies fell through, Waqa wants to make it home.

"We may be getting [permanent residency] in the next couple of weeks, we're in the process of getting that, which is good," Waqa said.

Waqa is a dual international for Fiji, having played four Tests at last year's Rugby League World Cup in England.

Given his impending Australian residency, Waqa grins when asked the tricky question these days of representative eligibility.

The 28-year-old winger, who has been recruited to help mentor a green Raiders back line, says he would be a NSW player. But he admits his heart remains in representing his homeland.

"I would love to play more representative football, it's the dream of any NRL player in the system," Waqa said.

"It's good to represent my own people ... Fiji is always the first place I pick."

Chris Wilson is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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