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‘One of us’: US claims loose Aussie hulk



The hulking left tackle who came from the South Sydney Rabbitohs system to be drafted in the NFL having never played a snap of gridiron before has taken the game by storm.The 24-year-old from Bankstown in Sydney’s west has an imposing 165kg, 203cm figure and has been bullying defences all season.Watch Live NFL every Monday, Tuesday and Friday with ESPN on Kayo. 6 live games every week + every game of the Post-Season. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >So much so he was in the conversation for a Pro Bowl berth throughout the year, although missed out.But the giant Aussie has no doubt won a multitude of fans, showcasing his personality which is arguably bigger than his hulking frame.Mailata may be living in the States and playing in the US’ game but that still can’t take the Aussie out of the man.In his Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-10 win over the New York Giants, Mailata’s offensive line teammate and right tackle Lane Johnson scored a touchdown from a five-yard pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts, the first Eagles offensive lineman to catch a touchdown pass in 11 years, it was a major talking point.Mailata, who has become close friends with Johnson, had the perfect reaction to the play.“I’m not going to swear … but it was f***ing awesome,” Mailata said.“It was awesome man, I’m so happy he got a touchdown.“For Lane, a guy of his calibre, he deserves it.“Big man touchdowns, everyone loves to see that. But when you actually know the guy and you play with the guy and know how much he gives himself to the team, you love that for him.”However, he did added that they needed to work out another celebration for next time.“It was half ballroom dancing, half making it up on the spot, half Lincoln Field leap,” Mailata said. “It was a mess.”Delaware News Journal’s Eagles writer Martin Frank also reported Mailata was angling for the TD himself, but will settle for being the next big man across the line.“Mailata said: ‘Lane just puts his heads down and works.’ Said Lane wasn’t lobbying to get a chance for TD. When play was put in, Mailata was like, ‘What about me?’ Then said maybe next time,” the tweet read.Asked if there was a TD in his future, Mailata said he’d try to get the people what they wanted.“I’m not going to say, but if the people want to see it, the people want to see it,” Mailata said.“I’m just going to do my job as a left tackle, because I’ve still got a lot to work on.”But social media and the journalists in the room were taken by Mailata’s comments after the game, with NBC Sports Philadelphia even saying “Jordan Mailata really is one of us” after dropping a swear word into his post-game press conference.Mailata didn’t only impress in the press conference though, as football analyst Brian Baldinger showed the Aussie is has shown just how far he’s come. Mailata was well in the conversation for the Pro Bowl, both he and Johnson missed the team despite putting up brilliant numbers this season.Asked about whether he felt snubbed by the rejection, Mailata turned the attention right on his teammate last week.“I’ll be honest, man, I haven’t really given much thought to the Pro Bowl snub. I care more for Lane,” he said. “I think Lane’s one of the best tackles in this game. I know, for me, if I look at myself in the mirror, I know I have a long way to go before I ever make those Pro Bowls. There’s so much stuff that I need to clean up on my own tape. If there’s one tackle I model myself after, it’s Lane. I just feel for Lane in that regard, more for him than myself.“Because I know I’m still just starting up. Not everybody knows my name, but they will one day.”The Eagles are 8-7 on the season and are in contention for an NFC Wild Card spot.

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