A spilt vase has put Anthony Tupou’s budding career as a hip hop producer on hold, with the Sydney Roosters international losing thousands of tunes he had mixed up on his laptop.
“It rattled me a fair bit,” Tupou said. “I’ve pretty much had to start all over again.”
While Tupou’s reaction is understandable given he will never be able to retrieve his work, it contrasts with the calm manner he has dealt with a number of setbacks to his playing career this season.
Despite being one of the form players of the NRL, Tupou was forced to find another club after being told the Roosters couldn’t afford to keep him and went close to losing his place in the NSW side in both Origin II and III – a similar scenario to last year when he was made a scapegoat for the Blues’ series-opening loss in Brisbane.
“That hurt a lot and I think it took its toll on my footy at the time,” Tupou admitted. “I went through a bit of a rough patch there and I was probably off for a few games. I didn’t know at the time that that was the reason why but I think looking back now it was pretty clear that it affected me.”
So why has the 25-year-old Australian second-rower been able to cope with disappointment so much better this year?
According to the former Newcastle Knights junior, the appointment of Brad Fittler as Roosters coach has played a large role.
“With Freddy Fittler coming in, he gave me a few pointers on how to deal with disappointment and at the time I wasn’t sure if what he was saying was right but after listening to him and following his advice he was spot-on,” Tupou said. “He has helped my game heaps and helped me off the field, which has been good for me too. Freddy is real good on the mental side of things, just in helping to keep you up and motivating you.
“He’s got a lot of answers because he’s been through so much stuff himself and even in your personal life he can help you.”
During pre-season training, Fittler encouraged Tupou to work hard and drive himself to force his way back into the Australia and NSW teams.
He also decided that Tupou was best utilised by playing on the left edge after years of being moved around the field or used as an impact player off the interchange bench.
“I didn’t really know what my position was but I think Freddy knew that I’m a back-rower,” he said.
“I think that’s one reason why I’ve been more consistent this year. I had a great off-season and pre-season, and in first grade this is probably the best I’ve played but I think I can always improve.”
Given the way he was playing and his potential, letting Tupou go was a tough decision for the Roosters – and one he found difficult to come to terms with. But despite his uncertain future until signing a $1.6 million, four-year deal to play under his former Roosters coach Ricky Stuart at Cronulla, Tupou’s form never wavered.
“I was aware that has happened to other people in the past and I didn’t want to let it affect me,” he said.
“It’s one of those things you never think is going to happen to you, you think you’re going along all right and you’re playing good and then all of a sudden it just springs up that your future is not there.
“It was hard to deal with because I wanted to stay and the Roosters said that they were so disappointed and that they wanted to keep me. But I think when all those things are going on the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep playing good.”
Tupou gets another chance to strengthen his case for World Cup selection tonight when the Roosters host the depleted Gold Coast Titans at the Sydney Football Stadium.