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Melbourne rookie in sight of Folau mark

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/07/2016 Laine Clark

Comparisons with Israel Folau appear inevitable for Suliasi Vunivalu after the Fijian flyer remained on track to shatter the dual international's NRL rookie try scoring record.

Vunivalu took his season tally to 16 tries in 10 games after flying high with a hat-trick in Melbourne's 48-6 record demolition of Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

And with eight regular season games left, Vunivalu is already in sight of Folau's record for most tries in a rookie season.

Folau crossed for an impressive 21 tries in 27 games in his first NRL season back in 2007 - also with Melbourne.

To date Vunivalu has crossed for two hat-tricks and five doubles this year.

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith said he sometimes caught glimpses of his former Storm teammate Folau in Vunivalu but did not want to make comparisons.

"When he is in the air taking speckies and scoring he does," Smith said after Vunivalu flew high to score two tries off Cooper Cronk kicks.

"But he is a different player to Izzy. He has a lot of natural ability but he is willing to learn and works hard."

The 192cm winger has featured in barely 30 games of football in his life after being spotted by Storm scouts playing rugby in New Zealand and joining Melbourne just two years ago.

Fiji-born Vunivalu moved to Auckland aged 16 to play for Saint Kentigern College before earning a spot in the Blues development team.

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