With Samoan parents and a Kiwi passport, Mark Ioane is an interesting mixture of everything that is good about our sport both in the NRL and right here at London Broncos.
We caught up with “Uce” to find out more of what is behind the number 10 shirt.
What was it that enticed you to London in the first place?
The team in general really. The coaching staff at the time painted a picture of the vision of the club and it was something I thought would be exciting to be a part of. They were looking at London and going back to Super League and that is still the goal now.
You came over three years ago now with your partner. How does she find it here in London?
She loves it. Obviously at first she was a bit homesick what with missing her family and close friends. The Gold Coast is an amazing place to live so it’s not a memory you can ignore its such a lovely city. After a couple of months here she really started to embrace the London lifestyle. She loves what she is doing here at work and being in Europe gives us an amazing opportunity to travel which is something we love to do.
So what do you enjoy doing as a couple here in London?
We love doing stuff away from the footie to be fair. Mainly eating!! We love trying new foods and new restaurants and London gives us the chance to do that a lot. We are experiencing new cultures all the time not only here in London but through the amount of travelling we have had the chance to do. We are determined to make the most of London at every opportunity.
On the social media channels, there is always one man who will post on the pictures of you. Ponifasio Ioane is his name.
That’s my Dad and my biggest fan. It’s has been hard being so far away from the family but it is something that I wanted to do and something that I embrace. I always know that the family are behind me no matter what and I am in touch with them nearly every day. Before each game, I give Mum & Dad a call and they give me suggestions on how to play which is quite funny and as always Dad has opinions on my form.
Every commentator struggles with your surname here in England but can you tell us a bit about your background?
Yes so I am a Kiwi-born New Zealander and both my parents are from Samoa. They were both from villages quite close together and they moved to New Zealand in the late eighties. Both my older brother and sister, Freddie and Theresa, were both born in Samoa but the funny thing is only one of them can speak the language fluently. I partially speak Samoan but I should be much better.
Where did you and Serah meet each other?
We met in New Zealand at the end of 2010 as friends and we stayed that way for about a year or so. She decided to move to Canberra. I had better get this right!! She moved in 2011 and we have been together ever since. Then at New Year this year, I finally popped the question and we became engaged.
What do the fans here mean to you?
They mean everything. I was so surprised to see the number of fans we had with us in Canada as that is not a cheap trip. The fact that they spend their hard earned money on us is incredible. They have been there for us all season and I don’t think we have repaid them enough out on the field with some of our playing standards. The true testament to them is that we know they will always be there in good and bad times. I want to say thank you to the fans and just say keep on supporting us and we will do the best we can for you in return.