CONNOR O’BRIEN, Gold Coast Bulletin
SHEM Vaoa once knocked back an under-20s opportunity with the Gold Coast Titans. Last weekend, wore his first Queensland senior jersey with pride.
The front-rower, who returned from a year off to join Tweed Heads, has swept through various representative rugby league sides to be the only Gold Coaster picked for the Queensland Rangers side that played against the NSW Ron Massey Cup team at Pizzey Park last Sunday.
It marked another highlight in a year in which he has played his first two games at Queensland Cup level, including being part of the Seagulls’ victory in Papua New Guinea against PNG Hunters.
“That was like the most physical contest of my life. It was a whole lot of pain over there,” the Palm Beach Currumbin High School product said.
As a rising star, Auckland-born Vaoa declined the chance to link with the Titans a few years ago, simply happy to play park footy.
“I think they were going through all their problems at that time so, I don’t know, I didn’t want to ruin my game with what was going on there,” he said.
“A couple of years before there were rumours that Brisbane was having a look and stuff but I didn’t actually hear from them.”
He sat out last season but was talked into strapping the boots back on by Tweed A-grade mentor Darryl Fisher, who had coached Vaoa to an under-20s premiership at Burleigh.
This story first appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin. Pic courtesy Bulletin.
NOTE: NSW Ron Massey Cup side won 30-14.