Former South Sydney player is now a garbage collector.
New Zealand-born Fetuli Talanoa walked away from a $200,000-a-year contract with the South Sydney Rabbitohs to pursue a career in Rugby Union at the end of last year.
Talanoa describes his new life as a garbage collector after the heights of NRL stardom as humbling, according to Fox Sports
The former NRL player had never even picked up a football until 2004 and within two years he was playing at the top level competition on a three-year deal. His natural talent for the game was immediately apparent and had him playing alongside superstar Greg Inglis for the Rabbitohs.
The decision to leave the life of an NRL star behind was made by the 25-year-old following a life threatening case of pneumonia in 2011.
When the former-utility collapsed in his own home he was rushed to hospital where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and had over a litre of fluid drained from his lung.
Since the operation Talanoa struggled to regain fitness as he repeatedly had to visit the hospital with related health issues and only managed two appearances for the club last season.
At Talanoa’s wishes, an exit out of his three-year contract with Souths was negotiated and he currently works as a garbage collector from 4am to 10am every morning as he provides for his young family.
His health and fitness has finally returned to where it was before the illness struck but Talanoa still refuses to go back to the NRL, even refusing an offer from Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Griffin.
His sights are set on a contract with Rugby Union and is currently playing with the Sydney University club, training for hours every day.
“I don’t want to be one of those players who switches to rugby at the end of my career, I want to have a proper go at it and, being only 25, I’ve got time to make it happen,” says Talanoa.