Rugby star forfeits $200,000 contract to serve LDS mission

Giving up a $200,000 salary and a rising professional rugby career to serve as a missionary may seem like a crazy idea, but that's exactly what Melbourne Storm player Young Tonumaipea has decided to do.

Tonumaipea made headlines when he announced that he would be quitting the rugby league in favor of serving a mission in Berlin. The player asked for a release from the final year and a half remaining on his current contract.

"It's something that's been on my mind since last year," Tonumaipea told the Daily Mail. "As I have matured, I've come to learn that [rugby] is not everything in my life."

Tonumaipea is a devout member of the Church and said he believes he can make a difference in people's lives by choosing to serve a mission.

Melbourne Storm boss Dave Donaghy said Tonumaipea is leaving with his blessing and that he sees it as a "courageous decision." Tonumaipea is also only the second player from Victoria, Australia, to ever play on the team, and many have heralded him as a trailblazer.

Since his debut in 2014, Tonumaipea has played in 40 games for the league. Donaghy said the player has "plenty of footy" left in him if he makes a return to the game after his mission.

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