Former St Helens star opens up on hardships and drop in standards

Zeb Taia often carved out a reputation for himself as one of the toughest competitors in Super League and the NRL.

The 37-year-old spent 2013 to 2015 at the Catalans Dragons, but it was his two-time Grand Final winning stint with St Helens that he is most well-known for.

107 appearances between 2017 and 2020 and Taia firmly enamoured himself to the Saints faithful, but he opened up on the David Mead podcast about just how difficult his time in Super League was.

“The hardest part was not having family around,” Taia said.

“At times it was pretty tough, some families they take their kids overseas, but it was hard for me as you’re by yourself on the other side of the world.”

Taia also hoped that more Super League players take it upon themselves to make the move to the NRL – because they are capable of doing just that.

“There’s some great talent over there that could come here and handle the NRL situation but they stay there and want to be great super League players.

“One of my good mates Elliott Whitehead was at Catalans and was only just starting out and now he’s one of the best back-rowers in the world.

“Luke Thompson too has come over here and taken it on and is at the Bulldogs, so it’s good seeing those players you played with and against that give the NRL a crack and hopefully we will see more in the future.”

The rampaging back-rower, however, did reference that Super League wasn’t as good as the NRL – even if the big games were so intimidating.

“The standard does drop a little bit over there but when you have your top games with St Helens against Wigan it is so fiery.

“The crowds are so loud and the physicality of those games, you can feel every hit that comes at you.”

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