At one point Kevin Proctor would walk into any world 13 and was generally considered one of the toughest men in the game and we now finally get to see him show those talents off in Super League.
It may not be the prime Kevin Proctor with the 33-year-old having been out of the game for eight months but he’s declared that he was never going to retire, in spite of rumours, and that we could have seen him earlier but family life understandably came first.
“I was never going to retire, it was more how things panned out. It is what is is and I got an opportunity to come to Wakefield,” the Kiwi star explained.
“I thought I was going to be over here a couple of years earlier to be honest, it’s always been a goal of mine to do this but I’ve got two girls back in Australia and it’s kept me coming from here earlier. I didn’t want to be 60 looking back and wonder why I didn’t give it a crack, it’s something ticked off the bucket list that’s been a high priority for a long time.
“I’d kind of brushed Super League approaches off before with my girls, but I had to bite the bullet now and I’m sure my girls will understand when they’re older. I’ve had eight months away and it’s created more hunger, it was a blessing in disguise what happened with Gold Coast, because I got to spend time with my family. Then they started doing my head in so I signed over here.”
He then detailed the difference between that of the NRL and Super League based on his six weeks in the country.
“I’ve been places with really good facilities like Gold Coast and Melbourne Storm. To come to Wakefield is really humbling for me, I’m grateful to be able to do what I love for a job but to come here when they’re in a rebuild phase of the stadium and they probably don’t have the best facilities in the comp, it’s making me grateful for the opportunity.
“Some of those guys in the team don’t know any better, that’s all they know so for me it’s really humbling and it’s been a good experience so far.”
He joins a Wakefield side that are heavily tipped for the drop, something Mark Applegarth contested when interviewed by Brian Carney, but his experience is something that he himself and Applegarth alluded to.
“We can’t listen to that outside noise, we’ve got to concentrate on what we can do and what we can control. We’ve got a younger team and if they get caught up in that rubbish it takes their focus away from footy, so if I can help them focus on footy. These guys are just as skilful and I think it’s more of an attitude thing, we need the confidence that we can beta other teams. I can help instil some confidence in those younger guys.”
He also refuted claims that Super League was a second-tier competition, relative to the NRL where he has played for all of his 16-year career.
“Some people might see it like that but I certainly don’t, I’ve played against England and I know they’re a high quality side and I’ve played against a lot of them. I think it’s brilliant, there’s been a lot of great players come out from Super League.
“There’s some of my mates that I’m looking forward to playing against, I’m just keen to get into the competition. I’ve had a long stint off and it’s made me hungry.”