Mahe Fonua cannot wait to hear Hull FC’s Black and White army belt out the club’s anthem ‘Old Faithful’ for the first time in over a year.
And the Tongan international is also hoping his own name – to The White Stripe’s iconic ‘Seven Nation Army’ – will be reverberating around the KCOM Stadium again on Monday night.
Fonua has developed a special relationship with fans over his two spells at the club, scoring tries in both of their 2016 and 2017 Wembley wins. Now the 28-year-old winger or centre will be reunited with 6,000 supporters when Brett Hodgson’s side take on Catalans.
Fonua said: “I have a lot of mad love from supporters here and that’s one of the reasons I was comfortable coming back. Even when I was over at Wests Tigers I still had Hull FC fans write to me on a weekly basis.
“Whenever Wests tagged me in a post I’d got through the comments and there would be Hull FC fans writing good luck Mahe, and they miss me back here.
“If I put out a post not even footy-relevant I’d get Hull FC fans sending me well wishes, wishing my family happy birthday and little things like that. You build up little connections and relationships over the time you’re here.
“I love hearing the Mahe Fonua chant and ‘Old Faithful’ walking back after a try has been scored. As a winger I’m on the corner post when we receive a kick-off and the fans chanting gives you goosebumps, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.”
Fonua admits it’s been tough missing that link with supporters, although his interactions with fans didn’t stop completely during lockdown. “Where I can, I reach out to them with a video message for someone’s grandpa or partner, or a get well one,” he said.
“It takes 10 or 20 seconds out of my day and it might put a big smile on that fan’s face. They could be in a bad place at the time and a video of 10 players saying get well could really turn their day.
“We haven’t had that face-to-face contact but thanks to phones and technology these days you can send videos, or sign jerseys that people send.”
Hull’s preparations for Monday’s game including two days with England RU coach Eddie Jones. Fonua added: “With his CV it’s good to see he can come and mingle with us even though he’s been right at the top in World Cups with big nation teams.
“He got straight to the point about being courageous and being the best team-mate you can be, and to never miss an opportunity. We’ll try and implement that attitude into our season and hopefully it will help us.”