Tearful Warriors skipper refuses to believe Fai gone

Warriors captain Steve Price fought back tears today, as he spoke of the anguish over teammate Sonny Fai, missing after disappearing in the surf at a beach on Auckland's west coast on Sunday.

Fai, 20, had gone to the aid of his younger brother who was caught in a rip at Bethells Beach, but got caught himself and is believed to have been swept out to sea.



Authorities believe there is no hope he will be found alive, but members of Fai's family and Price and his teammates are still holding on to a slender hope he will be found alive.



"We're just feeling our way and we've never been in a situation like this before," Price told a press conference today.



"Everyone's coping as best they can. We're not giving up, and to us it isn't a tragedy yet. We're still hopeful he's going to be found," he said, admitting that he was finding the situation difficult to cope with.



"It's a really tough time. We didn't train yesterday, we went out to the beach to help with the search. We thought it was very important for everybody to support and respect the family and try and look for Sonny."



The Warriors had a brief training session today and then resumed their search at the beach for Fai, who seemed destined to be a rugby league star.



"We just had a short training session this morning which went well. It wasn't a normal atmosphere, but we're just trying to get through it," Price said.



Price spoke in the present tense about Fai, reflecting the hope that somehow he was still alive.



"He is very infectious, very enthusiastic. He's a fantastic athlete and trains very hard.



"He's got a fantastic attitude, just a guy you love being around. Whether it's the under 20s or the first grade squad, he has a huge impact on everybody. We absolutely love him, and we're all really sad but still hopeful that things will turn out good for everyone," he said.



Price said he had never seen a player with a physique as striking as Fai's. "He's one of the quickest and strongest in the club," Price said.



Warriors coach Ivan Cleary agreed it was a new and difficult situation, and they were just playing it by ear.



"There's not much you can do but I think going out to the beach yesterday helped," he said.



"It's just very sad. Sonny was just a really popular player at our club. He had such an effervescent personality and was always fun to be around. Our thoughts go out to his family and their great loss.



"Sonny had physical gifts which were really rare. He was incredibly strong and really fast. His skills were developing and he had so much to look forward to. We're just trying to come to grips with the fact that he's not around, and really feeling for the family," Cleary said.



He said Sonny's sister, Lalelei Fai, was at the beach with Warriors football director John Hart again this morning.



The National Rugby League has offered grief counselling services for Fai's family and friends and the Warriors club.

This story was sourced from The New Zealand Herald

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn