Lolo Fakaosilea, Scott Sio, Folau Faingaa, Faalelei Sione in Brumbies team
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Lolo Fakaosilea, Scott Sio, Folau Faingaa, Faalelei Sione in Brumbies team

Lolo Fakaosilea always expected sleepless nights with a one-year-old daughter. He just didn't expect the person keeping him up at night to be an ACT Brumbies hooker battling first-game nerves.

Fakaosilea has been called into the Brumbies' starting side for the clash against the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night and there will be a familiar face on the bench in housemate Folau Faingaa.

Brumbies household. L-R: one-year-old Miah, Jess Carroll, Lolo Fakaosilea, Folau Fainga'a, and Rob Valetini.

Brumbies household. L-R: one-year-old Miah, Jess Carroll, Lolo Fakaosilea, Folau Fainga'a, and Rob Valetini.

Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

But the Fakaosilea household is different to most rugby bachelor pads. Fakaosilea and partner Jess are raising daughter Miah. And 22-year-old Faingaa. And 19-year-old Rob Valetini.

The duo didn't hesitate opening their doors to create a bigger family when Faingaa and Valetini were trying to settle into the capital.

So it's no surprise it's been more like a mad house this week, with Fakaosilea and Faingaa getting their opportunities against the Rebels while Valetini comes to grips with a devastating injury.

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"[Faingaa] was a bit nervous on Tuesday night. Didn't get to sleep until 1.30am," Fakaosilea grinned.

"I guess I've got another two young fellas living with me. We've taken them in under our wings. It's good for them and myself. It's an extra hand around the house and we're very grateful Jess is there for us.

"She gets dinner ready after we've been flogged at training. We're just like a big family. Robbie is the messiest, and that's including Miah. Rob sleeps with no bed sheets because he can't be bothered putting new ones on."

The one rule in the Fakaosilea house is no rugby talk when you walk through the front door.

"For me, it's just like living with my own family," Faingaa said.

"I'm one of six so I'm used to having brothers around and kids a well. Lolo ... I guess he's like the dad. Everyone just calls Robbie and I brothers because we argue and fight with each other. I think I'm the favourite."

The Brumbies hope the housemates will add starch to their forward pack as they chase redemption against the Rebels.

Fakaosilea, a talented boxer and barber, says he's ready to stamp himself as a Super Rugby enforcer and he'll get a chance to prove it against a powerful Rebels back row, which boasts hard-hitters Amanaki Mafi and Lopeti Timani.

"I'm excited. I think it's time for me to put my foot down and claim the starting jersey, and hang on to it," Fakaosilea said.

Lolo Fakaosilea at Brumbies training on Wednesday.

Lolo Fakaosilea at Brumbies training on Wednesday.

Photo: Karleen Minney

"The past few months I've been working on my ball carry, just trying to improve on every element of my game. I want to be on the ball [at the breakdown], physical in defence and a tough ball carrier."

Teenager Valetini started the season as the Brumbies' blindside flanker but damaged the medial ligament in his knee just 20 minutes into his debut.

Faingaa has been earmarked as a future Wallaby, despite being yet to make his Brumbies debut, and left his job as a concreter last year to take a chance in Canberra.

Faingaa was called into Wallabies camp last year by coach Michael Cheika as a development players after impressive performances in the National Rugby Championship.

"I just want [Faingaa] to do the simple things really well. That's his lineout throw, his scrum," said Brumbies coach Dan McKellar.

"He's a dynamic footballer and a good young kid with a big future. We've just got to make sure we stay realistic and not expect too much too early.

Rob Valetini and Lolo Fakaosilea pitch in as babysitters for Lolo Fakaosilea and partner Jess.

Rob Valetini and Lolo Fakaosilea pitch in as babysitters for Lolo Fakaosilea and partner Jess.

Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

"He hasn't played a Super Rugby game yet, so let's just get his game and his role right in a Brumbies jersey and then Michael [Cheika] will worry about higher honours."

The Brumbies have added prop Faalelei Sione, Richie Arnold and Andy Muirhead to the bench to give them an injection of fresh blood against the Rebels.

Wallabies prop Scott Sio is back in the starting side after missing the first two games with a calf injury.

The match against the Rebels will be a chance for the Brumbies to get confidence and momentum before they return to Canberra Stadium for their first game of the year on March 17.

"It's a great opportunity for me to put my hand up, I've got to make the most of it," Fakaosilea said.

"The [Rebels] have a lot of depth and experience. If we front up and be physical, match them at their own game hopefully we can get up."

SUPER RUGBY ROUND FOUR

Friday: Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.45pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports.

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Brumbies: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. Chance Peni, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. Lolo Fakaosilea, 6. Lachlan McCaffrey, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Folau Faingaa, 17. Faalelei Sione, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Richie Arnold, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Matt Lucas, 22. Wharenui Hawera, 23. Andy Muirhead.

Rebels: 15. Dane Haylett-Petty, 14. Jack Maddocks, 13. Tom English (c), 12. Reece Hodge, 11. Sefa Naivalu, 10. Jack Debreczeni, 9. Will Genia, 8. Amanaki Mafi, 7. Angus Cottrell, 6. Lopeti Timani, 5. Ross Haylett-Petty, 4. Matt Philip, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 2. Jordan Uelese, 1. Tetera Faulkner. Reserves: 16. Anaru Rangi, 17. Ben Daley, 18. Sam Talakai, 19. Colby Fainga'a, 20. Richard Hardwick, 21. Michael Ruru, 22. Billy Meakes, 23. Marika Koroibete.

Chris Dutton

Chris Dutton is a sports reporter at The Canberra Times.

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