QUEANBEYAN Whites coach Adam Fahey has backed second rower Tai Valeni to make the big time in the sport after leading from the front in his men's win over Eastern Suburbs last Saturday.
The Whites broke a two game losing streak at Griffith, downing a competitive Eastern Suburbs 24-17.
It was second half blitz from the Whites' forwards proved the difference after a first half struggle that saw them trail 10-6 at the break, and Valeni was instrumental in the effort, drawing penalties and affecting turnovers.
Fahey said he still had a lot to work on, but was improving at a rapid rate.
"He's been arguably our best player week to week...he puts fear into oppositions," said Fahey.
Valeni played second grade last season but after working closely with the first grade squad during the off-season, has cemented his spot in a younger first grade side this season.
It is a fine achievement for a player who bumped into Fahey in a carpark and asked "can I train coach?".
"Bigger honours may be in store for him if continues to improve the rate he's improving," said Fahey.
South African recruit Altus Momsen also starred in the game against Easts, kicking a personal haul of 14 points that included four penalty goals and a conversion, while he kept busy at inside centre assisting with playmaking.
The Whites have a tough assignment on Saturday when they travel to Nicholls Oval to take on the Gungahlin Eagles, whose only loss was last Saturday, 45-11 against heavyweights the Tuggeranong Vikings.
Fahey said his men's two straight losses to the Vikings and Uni-Norths Owls came down to them trying to be too tricky on the field, and said going back to basics would be key.
"It's amazing when a coach gives a team a plan and they follow it, they inevitably win," Fahey said of how they beat Easts.
"The boys are looking forward to Nicholls because Campese Field is a similar sort of field. We levelled them two tries all in a trial match, and are looking forward to the challenge."