Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Silaga follows in coach's foot steps

Moronae Silaga admires Shepparton Bulls coach Warren Johnston's leadership and this season Silaga is also leading the way at the Bulls.

OLIVER CAFFREY May 28, 2014 3:10am

Moronae Silaga has been a standout for Shepparton Bulls this season.

Warren Johnston isn’t just a coach to Shepparton Bulls’ Moronae Silaga, he is a father figure.

Silaga has been a vital player for the Bulls as the team has made the transition from country rugby to the higher standard of second division A-grade this year.

The Samoan-born No.8 has been a consistent performer on the field, but has also played a role in guiding the young members of the team off it.

Silaga, 29, played rugby for many years in his country of birth and had a stint with the former Cobram club after moving to Australia four years ago.

While the wins haven’t been as frequent in the Bulls’ second season, Silaga said Johnston had kept spirits high at the club.

‘‘Warren is more than a coach, he does a great job leading us on the field, but the way he is off the field, he is like a father to all the players,’’ Silaga said.

‘‘He brings everyone together as brothers, he’s so good at helping everyone on and off the field and sacrifices heaps for the boys each week and not just at training or on the day of a game.’’

Silaga said it had been a difficult start to the season for the Bulls, but believed there were better times ahead.

‘‘It’s been good this year, but it has been hard at the same time, a lot of the older boys from last year left and we’re pretty much a new team,’’ Silaga said.

‘‘We’ve started slow and most of the team are still adjusting to A-grade, to how much quicker it is compared to country rugby, but the team is good and we’re improving and getting better every week.

‘‘I’ve played backline in the past, but I’m sort of inside centre at the moment and playing with the forwards.’’

Johnston said Silaga set a great example for his teammates.

‘‘He’s a very versatile player, he’s played back and forward as well as being one of our best tacklers and his defence is just awesome,’’ Johnston said.

‘‘His experience of playing a good standard of rugby before this has been great, he was a bit quiet last year, but he’s started speaking out more and he’s really good with the young fellas.’’

Moronae isn’t the only Silaga involved at the Bulls, with wife Melissa president of the club since its inception last year.

After consistently being named in the Bulls’ best, Silaga’s run was halted against Kiwi Hawthorn at the weekend.

He will undergo scans this week to determine the damage to an injured hand.

‘‘Hopefully I’ll be able to play this week and the injury is nothing too serious,’’ Silaga said.

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