SINCE joining Warrington Wolves at the beginning of the 2018, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Sitaleki Akauola have established themselves as fan favourites with their eye-catching and uncompromising runs in the middle of the park.

Just as obvious as their ruthless running styles, which have left countless opposition defenders strewn helplessly across the pitch this season, is the pair’s ‘bromance’.

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But this is a friendship with deep roots, forged on the pitch with Wests Tigers and Tonga and strengthened further when Ben opened his door to Sita after the latter had moved to the UK from the other side of the world.

Akauola said: “I love taking to the field with him, because I know that someone has got my back.

“We played with each other back in Australia for a couple of years, and when I came over here I knew nobody.

“Benny was basically my only family over here – I looked up to him as an older brother.

“Ever since I’ve come over, he’s taken me under his wing and looked after me – he opened up his house to me and made it feel like my home.

“He made the transition from coming over from Australia really easy, and I don’t know what I would have done if he wasn’t here – I’d probably be very homesick.”

Another very visible symbol of the pair’s time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium has been their on-pitch prayers at full-time – often including Wire teammates and opposition players.

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‘Big’ Ben said: “From a young age, my belief and faith was always there.

“I’ve always said a little prayer before I play, and afterwards I say another one thanking God for keeping me safe throughout the game.

“We leave the invitation out there for the boys to join in, but we don’t force it on them or make them feel uncomfortable about it.

“When you play against other guys who have their own faith, we try to bring them in and give thanks to the man above.

“It’s a time of war on the field, then there is a moment of peace at the end – everyone comes together, and you feel relief.”

Work permitting, the pair worship together every Sunday at the Hope Church in Sankey Bridges.

Sita added: “I was brought up in a Christian family but I was always that kid that was getting in trouble, so the only time I saw God was when I went to him when I was in trouble.

“When I hit rock bottom, I was lucky that he was there and even when I’m hitting the highs he’s also there.

“Everything we do now – good or bad – he is always going to be there, and when I pray on the pitch I ask for his guidance and pray that we play the game hard and fair and to come off the pitch injury-free.

“It’s a good moment coming together in his name after bashing each other up on the pitch.

“We can come together and leave everything out on the field by giving glory to him and him alone.”

Ben and Sita will certainly be saying their prayers this week ahead of the Wire's appearance at Wembley for the Challenge Cup final, coming during their maiden season with the club.

Sita said: “Ever since I’ve been here, everyone has been talking about Wembley and how good it would be to get there.

“The game at Bolton was better than the Grand Final back home – that semi-final was something else, it really was an experience and hopefully Wembley should be good too.

“One of the things that brought me over here was wanting to be a part of something special, and to be a part of the team that creates history.

“It’s a big honour in my first season and I can’t wait to see what all the excitement is about.”


For all the best coverage before, during and after the Challenge Cup final follow the Warrington Guardian this week.

For more interviews like this, see Thursday's 20-page Wire at Wembley pull-out special inside the Warrington Guardian.