Makali Aizue Makes Mark In East Hull
On this day ….. 1 June
Seventeen years ago today, on 1 June 2003, one of the key members of Rovers 2006 National League winning squad made his debut from the bench in a 23-10 home win over Oldham. Makali Aizue followed in the footsteps of illustrious compatriot Stanley Gene when he arrived at Craven Park from Goroka Lahanis in Papua New Guinea in May 2003.
Installed in a flat above a shop on Holderness Road near East Park, Aizue soon settled in at Craven Park, where he became a big hit with the fans through his powerful running and bone-crunching tackles. They were great times for him, and he made lifelong friends amongst the playing squad. Undoubtedly the highlight of his Rovers career was the 2006 promotion-winning season, culminating in the never-to-be-forgotten night at the Halliwell Jones stadium that October. Aizue also played a big part in the 2005 National League cup-winning campaign, and was in the team that beat Castleford Tigers 18-16 in the final at Blackpool.
Aizue appeared in 159 games for the Robins (78 starts and 81 from the bench) in which he scored 29 tries, missing only four games in that promotion season, and he was a regular performer in the Robin’s first season in Super League. That season, he scored a vital try in Rovers first Magic Weekend derby, helping Rovers to a 14-10 success at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Aizue made his last appearance, from the bench, in a 14-10 win at Salford on 21 August 2009. At the time, he was bitterly disappointed that he was not picked to play at home to Warrington in the next game, so that he could make his farewell appearance at Craven Park.
After leaving Rovers, Aizue spent three seasons each at Halifax and Dewsbury, before finishing his career with a stint at Doncaster. In January 2018, he finally got his wish to make a farewell appearance in front of the Rovers faithful, when he and Scott Murrell made cameo appearances in a friendly against London, a game from which both players received shares of the proceeds towards their career testimonials.
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