Melbourne Storm, the 2016 NRL runners up, has just re-signed Fiji International Sisa Waqa on a training contract. The 30 year old Fijian was part of the Storm’s squad for four long years before he made the shift to Canberra raiders. After 18 months with the NRL team from Canberra, Waqa moved to French Rugby Union side FC Grenoble. While at Grenoble, Waqa suffered a major jaw injury. The injury encouraged or rather forced Waqa to make a return to Australia. The return to Australia was the starting point of Sisa Waqa signing a training contract with the Melbourne Storm.
On Anzac day, Waqa watched the Storm take on New Zealand Warriors. After he made a brief visit to Storm’s dressing room, Waqa got invited to meet Coach Craig Bellamy and director of football Frank Ponissio. Both the coach and the football director of Melbourne Storm offered Waqa a training contract and told him that he would be re-signed till the end of the season if he is able to regain his match fitness. Melbourne Storm has to make a decision whether or not to sign Sisa Waqa permanently before the June 30 deadline. So, the question beckons: will the signing of Sisa Waqa makes any difference to Melbourne Storm’s chances of winning the 2017 NRL? The signing might not be necessary as Storm already has a formidable line up with Suliasi Vunivalu, the 2016 NRL top try scorer, and attracts favouritism in first try scorer odds every time he takes the field.
Craig Bellamy, the coach of Melbourne Storm, believes that Waqa will add value to the team. According to Bellamy, Waqa has valuable NRL experience which will help Melbourne Storm to go one better this year and claim the 2017 NRL title. Seeing Bellamy’s comments and the offer made to Sisa Waqa, it is won’t be wrong to say that Waqa has the backing of the Storm’s coaching staff and board of directors. The thing that works in Waqa’s favour is his versatility. Sisa Waqa can play wing or centre. This allows Melbourne Storm to cover two positions with just one signing in case there’s an injury. Moreover, the signing of Waqa won’t cost Melbourne Storm much as the Fijian international will be part of the ‘second tier’ salary cap players.
The coaching staff and directors of Melbourne Storm have to make decision on Sisa Waqa before June 30. It is almost certain that they will watch the performances of Waqa closely each time he takes the field before his training contract expires on June 30. Whether or not Sisa Waqa gets a permanent contact is something we will only know after June 30. For now, we can only assume based on his past performances in the NRL that Sisa Waqa will be able to impress the decision makers at Melbourne Storm and get a permanent contract.