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Mikaele: I've always wanted to find a home and that's what I've got here

In the second episode of the club’s new ‘Cowboys Saloon’ podcast, in partnership with Triple M and Toyota, host Elliott Lovejoy sits down with Tom Mikaele to talk about re-signing until the end of 2027, playing in a Keebra Park State High team alongside Payne Haas, David Fifita and Mo Fotuaika and falling out of love with rugby league.

The 26-year-old then spoke about moving to the UK to play with Warrington, being diagnosed with Keratoconus at 21, his young son and how he feels like he’s finally found a home in North Queensland.

>>> Listen to episode 2 with Tom Mikaele here

Key topics

0.39 – Announcing that he's re-signed for another three seasons

1.19 – Being born in Auckland and moving to Ipswich when he was five years old

2.05 – Growing up playing for the Goodna Eagles

2.47 – His days at Keebra Park Sports High and how the reason he went there wasn’t for rugby league

3.45 – Playing in the same school team as David Fifita, Payne Haas, Connelly Lemuelu, Jaxson Paulo and Mo Fotuaika

4.59 – How his goal was never to make the NRL but was just to have fun playing football and to try and win the GIO Schoolboys Cup

6.48 – Being a late bloomer and not making the first team at school until he was in Year 10

8.08 – Signing with the Wests Tigers and how hard it was to move to Sydney as an 18-year-old

9.05 – The Tigers senior players taking him under their wing when he arrived in Sydney

11.12 – On dislocating two fingers at captain’s run prior to his NRL debut in 2019 and what he remembers from that game

12.40 – What drives him as a footballer today

13.17 – Being diagnosed with Keratoconus as a 21-year-old and how it affected his football

15.15 -  On why he fell out of love with rugby league and why he decided to move to the English Super League

16.35 – His time with Warrington and why he came home  

17.30 – His four-year-old son’s autism diagnosis and how he’s doing now

20.40 – How he was prepared to move back to Warrington before the Cowboys came knocking

22.35 – His first meeting with Todd Payten

23.29 – His trial performance against the Raiders that saw him come off the bench and score two tries

24.57 – Finding himself enjoying rugby league now

25.20 – Making his club debut against Penrith in Round 8

26.43 – Holding the record for the longest active try drought in the NRL  

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.