In the 1980s, few players bestrode rugby league like Kiwi Olsen Fillipaina. Size, speed, skills and a football super-brain, Olsen had it all. But perhaps even more importantly, he became a symbol of the emergence of Pacific Island players in rugby league and a genuine insipration to those who came after him.
But being a pioneer takes its toll, and Olsen suffered from vicious racism and unsympathetic coaches. Patrick Skene’s new book ‘The Big O. The Life and Times of Olsen Filipaina, Pacific Revolution Pioneer’ tells Olsen’s story in its full glory, and charts the rise of rugby league’s Pacific revolutionaries.
For more on the history of rugby and the other football codes, take a look at www.rugbyreloaded.com (which also has show notes and links for this episode) and follow me on Twitter at @collinstony.
Source: Rugby League Podcasting Network
112 – Olsen Filipaina, ‘The Big O’ with Patrick Skene