CARL Manu has first pick when selecting teams for touch footy before Waratahs training.
Without fail, Sevuloni Bailey is the first man chosen.
The 27-year-old flyer is one of three Fijians alongside Inoke Rokotula and Orisi Vosqua at the Tahs.
“He has speed to burn,” Manu said. “You can’t get a hand on him at touch footy. He loves his sevens as well. The three of them are all typical Fijians. They always have a smile on their face, work hard at training and are positive.”
Bailey and Rokotula are in their second season at Waratah Oval after being spotted by Tahs rugby manager Jim Heins and lured down from the Gold Coast.
“The club saw my performance and asked for my CV,” said Bailey who moved to Australia seven years ago. “Myself and Inoke came down for a trial. We both love Newcastle. It is pretty laid back and the people are so friendly.”
However, the duo’s tenure at the Tahs has been punctuated by a short stint playing rugby league for the Maitland Pickers in the Newcastle Rugby League.
Both had played rugby league in Queensland, but the code switch didn’t go as planned and they returned to the Tahs in round five and brought Vosqua with them.
“After our semi-finals last year, we were asked to play for the Newcastle Barbarians,” Bailey said. “That is where Maitland saw us and asked if we would like to sign a contract with them. We had a run but there were a few complications.”
Manu welcomed them back with open arms.
“They wanted to go and try rugby league which was fine,” Manu said. “I said if they are going to chuck some money at you, make sure you do your homework and told them they were always welcome back.”
Rokotulu, who can play anywhere in the back five of the pack, has been one of the Tahs’ most consistent forwards.
Bailey returned after a seven-week layoff with a wrist injury and scored a try in the 52-22 rout over Singleton.
“They are not too much into structure,” Manu said. “They just pop in and out. We try give them early ball and let them do their thing.”
And if the seventh-placed Tahs are to force their way into the finals, they will need the three firing.
The Tahs, who are three points behind equal fifth-placed Merewether and Lake Macquarie, meet Wanderers (a), Nelson Bay (h) and University (a).
Lake Macquarie are home to the Greens before trips to Maitland and Nelson Bay.
After the Roos, Merewether are home to Southern Beaches and away to Hamilton.
“I’m not too worried about what other teams are doing,” Manu said. “We just have to play well and win.”