St Helens are over in Australia ahead of the World Club Challenge next week and take on St George Illawarra Dragons today in the Pre-season Challenge ahead of that World Club Challenge clash.
Though they are representing the English competition they have some top Australian talent in their ranks including one of the youngest internationals ever in Sione Mata’utia.
The second-row has had a brilliant stint at St Helens and though he still has one year left on his deal, he has said that this season will be his “last year in England” as he hopes there’s some interest in Australia for him.
“Looking back on it now, it was probably one of those things that saved my career a little bit. It brought the love of footy back,” the forward said to The Newcastle Herald.
“This is my last year in England and hopefully there is some interest back home here and to getting back and playing with someone here, but if not – it is what it is.
“I’ve loved the decision of going over there. I’ve learnt so much and it got me out of my comfort zone. I probably got a bit too comfortable in Newcastle, if I’m honest.
“I came to a club that when I rocked up, there were eight English international players, so I sort of had to reinvent myself and make a name for myself, which is probably what I needed.”
“I had to be on the jump from the start, they just demand standards.
“It was something that took me by shock, because I never really had that accountability. It made me a better player and taught me a lot about professionalism.
“The success was weird. Winning was normal for us, and I’d never actually had that feeling. The flip side of that is, every team wants to beat St Helens so every week is a really hard game.
“It gets a bit rough at times whereas when I was at Newcastle, we were sort of at the bottom of the table for many years and a team that was always rebuilding.”
Meanwhile, he did admit that he had given up on a return to the NRL.
“When I first went to England, it was over and said and done. I never wanted to come back and was probably going to retire after England,” he said of returning to the NRL.
“Never say never, we’ll see how we go. I haven’t locked in anything as of yet.”