The moment when Hammer truly knew he belonged in Origin

Joel Gould |

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (c) rejoices after scoring a super second try in Adelaide last year.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (c) rejoices after scoring a super second try in Adelaide last year.

Queensland centre Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow remembers the moment when he knew he truly belonged in the State of Origin arena.

In game one of the series in Adelaide last year, the man known as ‘Hammer’ raced 60m to score a match-turning try in the 74th minute of the Maroons’ 26-18 win.

He slid past winger Josh Addo-Carr with a turn of speed and then swerved inside James Tedesco without losing pace to score.

“Once that happened my confidence went through the roof,” Tabuai-Fidow said.

“That moment was big for me. I debuted in 2021 in game three and I sort of had that same feeling that I can play at this level. Just to show it out there last year it was pretty special.

“I can come up with those big-time plays. I will remember it for a long time.”

Tabuai-Fidow will play centre again in the series opener in Sydney on Wednesday night when the Dolphins flyer’s blistering pace will be a key Maroons weapon.

“It is just speed and it is effortless speed which is incredibly rare,” Dolphins head of performance Jeremy Hickmans told AAP.

“He has a little phrase that he says to me, that he is ‘built differently’ and he is.

“You don’t see that speed outside of sprinting athletes too often. He has that ability to move across the ground and change direction with his swerve without changing speed. It gives him that point of difference.”

Tabuai-Fidow said he had been clocked, and the numbers were impressive.

“I did the 100m sprint when I was up in Cairns in 10.85 seconds when I was 16,” he said.

“That was the last time I timed myself and the only time.”

While it all looks easy, Hickmans said the 22-year-old put the work in.

“One of his challenges last year was moving full-time into fullback (in club football) for the first time and we all know fullbacks have to do a lot of work in the modern game now,” Hickmans said.

“He works hard on it and learns his trade. You can have the talent and not put in. He has the work ethic to do well.”

There is a joke in the NRL that Tabuai-Fiidow only runs as fast as he has to.

“Probably if someone like (Manly winger) Jason Saab is chasing me I will have to go quicker than I have been but we will have to wait and see,” he grinned.

AAP