His coach at the Newtown Jets, Greg Matterson, rates Arona very highly, saying that "Tinirau was a valuable member of our NSW Cup squad. He absolutely thrives on hard work and the tougher it was in the battle of the opposing forward packs, the more he revelled in it".
Former North Sydney Bears and Australian Test forward, David Fairleigh, is the Head Coach of the Cook Islands national team and he is also a big admirer of Arona's toughness and work-rate. Fairleigh said "I'm looking forward to Tinirau being a mainstay of our forwards when we take on the strong NSW Country team next Saturday, and I also envisage him as being a major player in the Cook Islands team's quest for a place in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup."
Arona has already been rewarded for his excellent 2010 season by winning a full-time contract in 2011 with the Sydney Roosters. The Cook Islands and NSW Country representative teams clash at Scully Park, West Tamworth on Saturday, 16th October at 5.30pm.
The Cook Islands claimed victory over NSW Country, 26-20 and Tinirau was Man of the match.
Cook Islands 26 [Keith Lulia, Lulia Lulia, Ben Taia, Zeb Taia, Daniel Roki tries; Ben Taia 3 goals]
NSW Country 22 [Sam Wooden 2, Hayden Crouch, Chris Bamford tries; Dennis Moran 3 goals]
Half-Time: Cook Islands led 14-6.Referee: Shane Hayne.
Weather: Fine and cold. Playing surface: Excellent.