Tetera Faulkner has confirmed he will be leaving Melbourne upon the completion of the 2019 NRC, linking with the NSW Waratahs for the next Super Rugby season.
The Victorian raised prop has had a decorated career and admits the decision was not taken lightly.
“It was a tough decision to come to, being a proud Victorian,” admitted Faulkner, who took the opportunity to reflect on his happiest moments in the navy blue.
“Personally, it was just representing Victoria again. I got to put the Victorian jersey on again.
“I think just running out in front of the Melbourne crowd again at AAMI Park was probably the most special part of my career.
“Dave (Wessels) gave me an opportunity to start for the Rebels for the first time and I really enjoyed my time.
“The game that really stood out for me was my first game with the Rebels. Running out onto AAMI Park, my parents were there, my wife was there, all my kids were there and all the fireworks were going off and the nerves were coming.”
Despite the change in scenery, Faulkner is convinced the Rebels front row stocks are blossoming.
“The team are looking to the younger players; Matt Gibbon, Fereti Sa’aga, Pone Fa’amausili and Jermaine Ainsley.
“Those guys are going to do the job for Melbourne and that’s pretty exciting for them. I was lucky enough to work with them and in terms of where the Rebels are going to head, it’s pretty exciting for the Club.”
Saturday’s clash against the Fijian Drua, his last on home soil as a Melbourne player, will be extra sentimental for Faulkner, as the Rising players don their club socks.
“Because we’re wearing our (club) socks this weekend, it’s probably going to be the last time I wear the Moorabbin socks which is a bit sad.
“I got to go down there (Moorabbin) and coach some of the junior teams and obviously help with their seniors.
“It was a super special moment to see them (Tetera’s children) put the black and white jersey on and get coached by a couple of the first-grade players that I grew up with and played with,” reflected Faulkner.
Catch Tetera in his final home game on Victorian soil this Saturday at Casey Fields when the Melbourne Rising tackle the Fijian Drua at 5pm.