Helen Luafalealo took the field in her very first game of rugby.
Despite only being a trial match for her new team Power House, her nerves felt uncontrollable.
She looked to her left and met the eye of her younger sister, Leonie, on the far wing.
She panned further up the field and saw two more familiar faces in the second row, sisters Adrianne and Josephine.
In entirely unfamiliar territory, Helen now felt at ease.
She was ready to play.
“It was the very first game we’ve all played, and it was extremely nerve-wracking,” Helen said.
“But it was an amazing experience.”
“Being able to turn around and see one of my sisters on the wing, another one of my sisters up forward and another one next to her.”
“We definitely looked out for each other when we were on the ground.”
Meet the Luafalealo sisters: The Sister Act of Power House Rugby Club.
And not unlike the 1992 Comedy Film starring Whoopi Goldberg, these girls pack a punch.
There’s Helen (20), the mother figure of the quartet. She’s played every match of the 2021 Lindroth Cup season and “loves the excitement that rugby gives her.”
There’s Adrianne (18), a winger who is “lightning quick and loves to tackle.”
Leonie (17) is the final winger, “a tiny person but as strong-willed as a lion.”
And Josephine (17) is the lock, who is “not afraid to tackle opponents twice her size to the ground.”
Born and raised in Samoa, the Luafalealo sisters arrived in Melbourne less than two years ago.
And on and off the field, they always have each other’s backs.
“There are times when my sister gets caught with the ball, and I see her getting tackled to the ground, and I rush over to help her,” Helen said.
“And I try to push the player on top away.”
“Normally, when me and Leonie play, she is all the way on the other side of the field as the other winger.”
“That can make it hard to always look after her.”
Incredibly, the four sisters make up only a fraction of the Luafalealo family.
Seven brothers (yes, seven) round out the siblings, with four of them - Jonathon, KJ, Jay, Adonijah – playing for Power House Rugby Club.
After cheering their big brothers on from the sidelines and giving one or two games of touch rugby a go at school, the sisters were more eager than ever to follow in their family’s footsteps this season.
“Everyone in my family has played and all our brothers play,” Helen explained.
“Every time we went to watch them play, we thought it was such an interesting sport and something we wanted to do.”
“Now, they take us to the park to make us train.”
“My dad also wanted us to play. He didn’t get the opportunity to play that much because his parents didn’t let him when he was younger.”
“He wanted to give that opportunity to us.”
“We are so glad we did start. It’s such a rush you get from playing rugby. Out on the field when I have the ball, and I’m running with the ball and looking to see if anyone is coming.”
“It’s so fun.”
“It definitely has been a highlight for us all playing together in our first season of rugby.”
In 2018, Adrianne, Leonie and Josephine followed their parents and brothers lead by packing their bags and moving their life to Melbourne. Helen followed shortly after in 2019.
It was a “shock to the system” for them, coming from Samoa where they routinely had to “wake up early and do a lot of work and chores around the house.”
But the girls found a new home at Power House Rugby Club, and along with having to do less manual work, wouldn’t change the move for the world.
“I absolutely love it,” Helen said.
“The girls are so welcoming, and everyone comes from a different race.”
“The group is so diverse.”
“It makes us feel at home knowing that they’ve got our back and it makes playing much easier.”
“It’s been an awesome experience playing with the girls.”
“It’s been a tough, tough season but we’ve made our family proud.”
Head Coach, Andrew Pitt, was charged with taking the reins of the reigning Premiers Lindroth Cup side this season, after eight years of experience coaching the Power House Juniors.
And in his entire time in Victorian rugby, he has never seen a family dynamic quite as unique as the Luafalealo sisters.
“They’re all new to Rugby,” Pitt said.
“They’ve played some touch at school, so they have good hand skills, which is great for us.”
“Individually, they’ve all got their own strengths.”
“They bring to the group an infectious energy and a real close togetherness.”
“Although they are a close-knit family with four sisters, they speak to the other girls like they are part of their own family.”
“Everyone in our group shares that.”
Power House has positioned itself as one of the teams to beat in the 2021 return of the Lindroth Cup.
The 2019 Premiers are stacked with star-studded experience, including Super W stars Georgia Cormick, Meretiana Robinson and Nawel Remini. But it has been the injection of youth and flair, such as impressive first-season youngsters Jade Te Aute and Kirsty Matapa, that has taken the team to a new level.
Despite dropping their four-match winning streak in a top of the table clash against Melbourne University in Round 6, Pitt believes the team’s spirit has never been higher.
“The team culture is fantastic this season,” Pitt said.
“We try to make it as fun as possible.”
“Win or lose, as long as we are having fun and hitting in hard, that’s all that matters.”
Turning into the final straight of the season, the Sister Act of Power House looms as the team’s secret weapon in their pursuit of winning back-to-back premierships.
Lucky enough to stop Josephine Luafalealo? You’re met with Helen, Leonie and Adrianne coming just as hard.
But for Helen Luafalealo, she believes herself and her sisters are already the real winners of the season.
“It really means a lot to be playing here all together,” Helen said.
“Especially coming from Samoa, where everything is so different.”
“It’s such a great opportunity and I am so thankful to have found a rugby team where we all play together.”
“I feel really comfortable and at home now.”