Warriors prop James Gavet has spoken of his grief at losing an idol in Sione Lauaki, admitting he even grew his hair out to match the look of his role model.
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Source: 1 NEWS
Gavet attended Kelston Boys High School and says while there were old boys such as Mils Muliaina and Sam Tuitupou that had since left the school to earn the Black Jersey, the 27-year-old best related to Lauaki as an up-and-coming forward in the school's first XV.
"He was the one to look up to," Gavet told 1 News league reporter Matt Manukia.
"Just how he used to play and how he used to carry himself and to be feared on the field - that was always how I wanted to be looked at."
Gavet says the loss has been hard for many Kelston old boys to handle.
"It won't really sink in for many of us until later on.
"Thirty-five years of age - that's just around the corner for me...we're all in shock."
Lauaki passed away suddenly on Saturday night after fighting kidney and cardiovascular issues.
The news of his passing travelled quickly to his old Super Rugby team, the Chiefs, who dedicated their inaugural Brisbane Global Tens tournament victory to him.