GRATEFUL: Bundaberg's Felise Kaufusi says growing up it was always a dream of his to play for Australia.
GRATEFUL: Bundaberg's Felise Kaufusi says growing up it was always a dream of his to play for Australia. CRAIG GOLDING

Easy decision to pick Australia for Felise

LEAGUE: Just like the famous song, Bundaberg's Felise Kaufusi will still and always call Australia home.

The Melbourne Storm forward has opened up about being selected for Australia after being named in Mal Meninga's squad earlier this week for the World Cup.

The 25-year-old could have represent Tonga, who he has made three appearances for, but chose the green and gold.

He said putting on the jersey of the best nation in the world in the rankings helped the decision.

"It was a pretty easy decision, to be honest. This opportunity doesn't come around very often so I'm just grateful,” he told NRL.com from his hotel in Sydney.

"I would have loved to have played for Tonga to represent my heritage; that's where my mum and dad are from. I have played for them before - I played the Test match [earlier in the year] and it was pretty special - but to get this opportunity, I'm forever grateful and I'll take it with both hands.”

The decision was made easier as well by watching the Queensland Maroons smash New South Wales in the living room in Bundaberg.

"Growing up in Queensland I've always watched State of Origin and watched the Aussie boys so it's always been a dream of mine,” he said.

Kaufusi was selected after a breakout season that culminated in a premiership for the Melbourne Storm and the most improved player at the club awards.

But he still thought it might not have been good enough to be picked.

"On the back of playing some good footy, I was lucky enough to get the call up,” he said.

"We lost a great player in Kevin Proctor (at the Storm) and the coaches really challenged me to try to grab that opportunity with both hands. I think that's exactly what I've done.”

Kaufusi said he looked forward to joining up and playing with Storm teammates Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith when Australia's World Cup campaign starts on October 27.



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