The arrival of Tamatoa Tetauira at AS Venus was heralded as a coup for the club, but for the 23-year-old it’s been an equally fruitful partnership.

His first competitive match for the side was the final of the Coupe de Tahiti in September 2019, where his 89th minute goal helped secure the win following a brace from his cousin and team captain Teaonui Tehau.

But fans across Oceania were already well acquainted with the eloquent striker following his impressive performances during the 2018 edition of the OFC Champions League with AS Dragon. The then-captain’s five goals in four games were a significant factor in his side reaching the quarter-finals and showcased him as the future of Tahiti football.

A Mahina boy through-and-through, the attacker debuted for his local club last night against a strong Lupe Ole Soaga side and admitted it was an emotional moment to take to the field with his AS Venus family.

“It’s pretty heart-warming to be representing my community with my family, because the majority of the players are my family, and so I’m pleased. Really, really pleased,” Tetauira said.

After being laid-up with a knee injury since early this year, Tetauira’s return to the starting line-up was more than welcome, according to Venus coach Sam Garcia.

“It was a great performance [from Tamatoa] and we know from a free kick in particular, because we practice a lot, he’s very precious to us,” Garcia said.

“I’m pleased for him, he’s a great player and he’s just come back from an injury so I’m especially happy for him.”

After scoring the opening goal on the half-hour mark, Tetauira went on to find the back of the net twice more as Venus earned a 6-0 victory over Samoan club champions Lupe Ole Soaga.

Those three goals have helped take him to an impressive OFC Champions League tally of nine goals in just six games.

But personal accolades and records aren’t at the forefront of this player who is instead focused on the bigger picture.

“Who could ask for more?” he said of his hat-trick.

“Three goals are just a bonus though, I have to thank the boys for what they did. Everyone did what was required of them, we followed the instructions from our coach.

“While opposite us there was a good side and a lot of intensity, he told us to press high and score goals, which is what we did.”

In 2018 while Tetauira and Dragon had the advantage of playing at home. Venus however weren’t quite so fortunate for their return to the Champions League after a long hiatus, having to travel to Auckland.

Tetauira is therefore well placed to understand the added pressure that comes with participating in such a prestigious competition in front of local supporters.

“I think at the beginning of the game we felt some of that pressure of playing at home. It was the first time Venus was playing in front of their fans and I think the pressure got to us a bit in the beginning.

“But it’s just one game and once we started to let go we were better for it.”

The big match looms on Wednesday evening when Venus take on the competition favourites Auckland City.

“We take it match by match. We know Auckland City is strong but we’ll try to contain them and play our game.

“Why not a win at home?

“I call on all our supporters, the community of Mahina to come and helps us, come out and help us win at home.”