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When a Newcastle Knights scout was sent to see Akuila Uate play for Woy Woy on the NSW Central Coast he reported back: "I have just seen the next Lote Tuqiri".
Uate, who placed third in the Australian U-16s 100-metres final a few years ago, is now the fastest player at the Knights, and may soon be the fastest player in rugby league.
In 2005 he played just eight games, mostly off the bench, in the Knights SG Ball (U-18s) side, and scored only one try, but the tall, athletic winger sufficiently impressed to be named in the Australian Schoolboys side.
During the off season he played and trained with the Fiji A side, and was widely tipped to play for Fiji Bati, but had to withdraw due to preseason commitments for the Knights.
This year he has played the first eight games with the Knights' undefeated Jersey Flegg (U-20s) side, and is the top try scorer for the team with seven from eight games.
Last week he continued his amazing rise by playing Premier League after just 16 games in the Knights juniors, and scored a try on debut. To cap off his week, he has just been named in the NSW U-19s side to play Queensland in the curtain raiser to State of Origin I.
Aku Uate has height, natural athleticism and blazing speed as well as an amazing step. If he continues his outstanding progress he should be an established first grader by 2008, and may well be one of the stars of the World Cup playing for FIJI.