IF you turn up to a Port Macquarie Sharks end of season party, chances are you will find towering second-rower Grant Faatoia providing the entertainment.
Most pundits in Group 3 circles would know him by sight – he’s the 118-kilogram giant that terrorises halves on the edges.
But not many would be aware of his ability with a guitar in his hand instead of a Steeden.
Tunes such as Eric Clapton’s Tears of Heaven, The Eagles’ Hotel California or anything by Barry White or Lionel Ritchie always get a positive response.
And then there other songs that Faatoia has written for his Adventist church group that he is more than proud to remind people about.
“I’ve been playing music for 14 years now,” he said.
“The reason I took it up was that I found playing music was like a bridge between reality and a place where you could find peace.
“It’s fantastic that I’ve chosen music as a way to ease the pain for many things in my life.”
Musical talent runs in the family and it was this environment that provided the backdrop for the 29-year-old.
“I pretty much learned by listening,” he said.
“I’m not a music reader, I listen to sound and I pick up tunes off that. I do most of my music in church at the moment.”
Religious beliefs mean Faatoia can’t play for the Sharks when a match falls on a Saturday, but he is comfortable with the decision he has made.
“It’s been five years since I made that commitment, but I love the decision I’ve made,” he said.
He said he didn’t see any other strongly-religious National Rugby League players such the Bulldogs’ Will Hopoate as any sort of role model.
The reason I took it up was that I found playing music was like a bridge between reality and a place where you could find peace.Port Macquarie Sharks second rower Grant Faatoia
“I haven’t found any inspiration in any league players, I’ve found inspiration in the elders of our church and people who have gone through the rough patches in life and turned their lives around,” he said.
With the elimination semi-final against Taree at Lank Bain Sporting Complex falling on a Saturday, Faatoia will be an interested spectator.
But it’s not the first big match he has missed due to his beliefs.
“I’ve missed out on two grand finals when I played for the Wyong Roos because they were played on a Saturday,” he said.
“Just to see the boys run out on the field and be unable to participate is going to hurt but I have to remember my commitment and the accountability I have to the young people who look up to me.”
Saturday’s match kicks off at 3pm.
I’ve missed out on two grand finals when I played for the Wyong Roos because they were played on a Saturday.Grant Faatoia