Tomane's touching tribute to Vaea

Chris Ford Profile
by Chris Ford

Brumbies winger Joe Tomane has penned a heartfelt tribute to the recently retired Ita Vaea.

Vaea was forced into early retirement mid-week due to ongoing heart problems and his absence has been sorely felt by the Brumbies organisation.

Tomane penned his note in the early hours of Sunday morning, after leading the Brumbies to a six-point win over fierce rivals the Waratahs with a hat-trick of tries, in which he wore Vaea’s nickname ‘Dox’ on his wrist.

Brumbies co-captain Stephen Moore spoke of Vaea’s impact post-game.

"We spoke about [Ita] before the game and a lot of the boys are very close to Ita, that was a big shock to us earlier in the week," Moore said.

"We did speak about the fact he can't ever play footy again, maybe that motivated us a bit. We'll make sure we support Ita as much as we can going forward, it's not just about tonight. It's about us getting around him over the next few months and years because he'll need that.

"I'd like to think all of those kind of things puts it in perspective. I was in Newcastle last week and saw a young fella who broke his neck playing rugby in Maitland and he's in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

"That sort of stuff puts everything in perspective. It's only a game at the end of the day."