Manu Ma’u has revealed he turned down three NRL offers to join Hull FC.
The 30-year-old signed a two-year-deal with the Airlie Birds last month and will link up with Lee Radford’s side at the start of next season.
However, it could have been a different story if the forward wasn’t such a loyal servant.
Having spent time in an Aukland prison for his part in a gang brawl, it took the Eels a whole year to get Ma’u’s visa approved ahead of his move to the club in 2013.
Less than a year later, Brad Arthur gave the then 25-year-old a shot in the NRL and he soon became one of the competition’s most dominant forwards.
That trust Parramatta’s management showed to Ma’u in his early days was a deciding factor in him turning down offers from elsewhere in Australia.
South Sydney Rabbitohs and Newcastle Knights put offers on the table for the enforcer, but his love for the Eels was the reason for him refusing to play for another NRL club.
“Parramatta means so much to me,” Ma’u told NRL.com.
“This club has changed my life, saved it in some ways. I’m forever in debt to the club and Brad Arthur, his staff and my support network back in NZ, as well as my family, my wife and kids.
“I never thought I’d make it to this point, it’s going to be hard leaving, it’s going to be emotional. I don’t know if there will be tears, I’m still smiling now.”
Despite his contract with the Eels coming to an end, it’s believed the club were keen to offer Ma’u another year.
But a longer and more lucrative offer from the black and whites proved too tempting for the nine-time Tongan international.
“It was a good opportunity, the offer and the chance with Hull is too good to say no,” Ma’u said.
“Security-wise too, it’s two years with an option and I’m 31 next month.
“It was too good to pass up and I was real nervous trying to figure out how to tell Brad Arthur.
“He’s got a family of his own though, so he understood straight away.
“He’s been my only coach in the NRL. He’s straight up and down and just tells me how it is, always has and that’s so good.”