Flight of faith for Asiata ascension
JOHN Asiata is a proud man of faith.
And it is his faith that the 26-year-old believes has led to him securing his true calling in the NRL: to be a linchpin in the Cowboys' attack at five-eighth.
While he has played the majority of his 102-game NRL career in the forwards, the Samoan international has always desired to return to the halves since playing three games as cover for injuries midway through 2017.
It was where he played all of his junior football, and it is where he feels most comfortable.
But it was not until he got a sign from his God, that he felt comfortable in telling long-time coach Paul Green of his true desire.
"I am enjoying it, I love the challenge and this is by far a big challenge for myself," he said. "I played majority of my grade career in the middle and then now being put into the halves for this two weeks it has been a challenge, but it's a good challenge that I have always wanted to give a good crack.
"We have had a lot of young halves coming through, and this year was a big one. I had a chat to Greeny (before the season), I said to him for myself I believe in a God that works miracles, and I felt very strongly that God put something in my heart to go and approach Greeny and say this is what I believe in and this is what I want to do this year if I got an opportunity.
"It is something I believe that I have got within me, that God has got my back when this challenge was going to come. It came (against the Titans) and I really dug deep and prayed really hard that if this is the way you want me to go, then lead me.
"I am following what God has got in place for me, and it is really showing for myself that I believe and have faith that he has got my back."
While he had approached Green in the pre-season the coach had answered in as honest a way as possible suggesting to the utility to just keep working hard and if the opportunity came, be ready to take it.
"He didn't say no, he didn't say yes. He just said leave it with me and we will see how the year unfolds," Asiata said.
"He said 'As long as you keep doing what you're doing, as long as you keep working hard. If that opportunity presents itself, I know you will be ready'."
But the forward soon put the thought to the back of his mind, with a determination to just play his best football in an effort to get the Cowboys across the line.
In his sixth year in the top grade, the forward was playing with more confidence than he ever has before, and it is what he credits to his added success on the field.
Asiata has been one of the Cowboys best in a tough start to the season, and has now seen him touted as a potential Origin call-up as a utility for Brad Fittler's NSW Blues side.
That might be a dream opportunity for the 26-year-old, but much like his chance in the halves, he is not thinking about it too much and just letting his on-field actions do the talking.
"As a kid growing up in NSW, you have always wanted to play in the Origin arena, it's the biggest stage at the moment. But for me, it was never in the back of my mind," he said.
"For myself, to be able to play good football, be confident in the skill that I have and to be able to play good for the club (is all I want) and everything else looks after itself.
"This year has been all about being confident in the skill that I have and that is what I have been doing so far. To be given an opportunity to play in the halves I have been blessed, now there is talks of NSW and I think all that is going to look after itself as long as I just do my job on the field."