It all started for this former Cowboy over a cold XXXX Gold or two between two drinking mates in a Cairns backyard seven or eight years ago.
One was proudly telling the other about his teenage son and how he was killing it in the local junior league competition.
Their conversation went something like this.
"Tom, you should get your son [North Queensland Cowboys recruitment boss Clint Zammet] to come and have a look at my boy," Mingo Tuala said in reference to his 14-year-old son Enari. "He goes really good."
Tom passed on Mingo's message to his own son and after a few reminders, Zammet eventually went and watched Tuala play. And signed him the next day.
"Yeah, that's about how it happened," the Knights centre recalled this week.
"My dad knew Clint's dad pretty well back home in Cairns through a family friend and they got to know each other and used to have a few beers together.
"Clint came and watched me play and signed me to a scholarship and it went from there."
Initially, Tuala was training once a month with the Cowboys Academy squad and traveling to a training camp at the end of the year before he moved to Townsville in Year 10 and finished his schooling there at Kirwan State High.
He represented Queensland Under 16's and Under 18's and in 2016 when he was 17, scored 12 tries in 15 games for the Cowboys Under 20's side alongside Kalyn Ponga.
A year later, Tuala debuted in the NRL and played Junior Kangaroos and after 10 top grade appearances the following season in 2018, he was so highly thought of, he was chosen in Mal Meninga's Prime Minister's XIII for the annual clash against Papua New Guinea.
Then, just 12 months later, the Cowboys threw him on the scrapheap. He played just seven NRL games last season, finishing the year back home in Cairns playing for feeder club Northern Pride.
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Tuala, who lost his dad and greatest supporter four years ago to liver cancer, blames no-one else but himself for his demise.
"I wasn't playing my best footy and if I'm honest, I wasn't making the right commitments off the field as well," he said.
"I let myself go off the field, I wasn't eating the right food and my skin-folds weren't good enough. I just wasn't doing the right things or showing the right sort of commitment.
"I got sent back to the feeder club the Northern Pride in Cairns and going back home, I was guilty of thinking it was a bit of a holiday and wasn't focusing on footy at all. But once I got told I wasn't going to get another contract, it was a big wake-up call, that's for sure.
" It's why coming down here to Newcastle and trying to do everything right is so important to me. This is my last chance and I didn't want to blow it."
After saying goodbye to his mum Lisa last October, it took Tuala, his partner and his dog four days to drive the 2290 kms from Cairns to become a Knight.
He initially only signed for 12 months but so impressed was coach Adam O'Brien with his work ethic and attitude to training, he was re-signed for another 12 months at the end of the pre-season.
He has rewarded the coach for taking a punt on him by proving he is far more than just a depth signing with some high quality performances this season at both centre and wing.
"Defensively, he has been really good for us and you can just depend on him to get the job done against anyone he comes up against," O'Brien said.
"I can't fault Enari. He works hard, is good around the group and he can play centre and wing either side. He's been a really good pick-up."
Tuala said his dad would be "pretty proud" of how he has resurrected his career. But with his mum and five older sisters and two older brothers keeping close tabs on his career, there is no shortage of family support.
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