He has seen the likes of Boyd Cordner, Mitch Pearce and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck develop into NRL stars and after spending a full pre-season in Canberra, new recruit Frank-Paul Nuuausala is similarly excited about the young talent coming through at the Raiders.
Nuuausala saw first-hand how well the young brigade of talent at the club have handled a pre-season which he deems is “the toughest he has endured”, and witnessing this raw talent has left the New Zealand international in awe of certain individual’s potential and optimistic of things to come.
“Pre-season has been very tough compared to the previous ones that I’ve done,” Nuuausala said candidly. “I think the boys here train harder and it’s probably a bit different to what I’m used to. I think that I’ve fitted in fairly comfortably here though and the boys have helped me with that. There’s a good work ethic here and good camaraderie as well.
“The young talent here excites me a lot. Jack Wighton particularly excites me along with Shannon Boyd and our young back-rowers Tevita Pangai and Patrick Mago. They’re good kids and I’m excited to see them play.
“I don’t really think that they realise how good they can be. I think they’ve been relying a lot on their natural talent but with more continued hard work, like what they’ve shown in the pre-season, the sky is the limit for a lot of them.”
The 27 year old won a premiership with the Roosters in 2013 and believes that similar feats are within the Raiders’ grasp in the not too distant future if the players buy into the culture Ricky Stuart is trying to create and if they continue to work their butts off.
To assist in creating this culture Stuart recruited players such as Nuuausala, a proven winner at club and international level.
Nuuausala came from a club littered with seniority and big names however he is now looking forward to taking on a leadership role with the Green Machine and leading the way for the club’s younger, but immensely talented brigade.
“Ricky was coaching the Roosters when he brought me over to the club as a kid and looked after me so we’ve always had a good relationship.
“He wants me to be a leader here and to help build a winning culture; a culture that portrays good standards off the field and leads to a winning football team on the field.
“It’s not just Sticky wanting me to be a leader though - I really want to be a leader; maybe not with my words but definitely by my actions. There’s a good opportunity here for me to help the younger boys out on and off the field. I’m looking forward to helping our young kids and our team as a whole grow.
“I suppose the side has lacked a few leaders and senior players in recent years so it will be good for me to come and help out.”
Nuuausala’s best friend is Iosia Soliola and the pair has known each other since they were eight years old. Soliola, who captained Samoa at the most recent World Cup, is proud of the leadership role Nuuausala is taking on at the club and his eagerness to help guide through the youngsters.
“He was fortunate to work with a lot of big names at the Roosters but here he wants to take the next step in his career and become a leader. He’s been there and done that – won premierships and international tournaments - so he is somebody that you want to learn off. He knows the ingredients in how to win and he’s the ideal man for the job.
“It’s great to see the amount of input he has in this team now due to his experience. He really wants to create a winning culture here.”
“Over the last couple of years our club hasn’t been as successful as we would have liked to be and we’ve been fairly inconsistent,” added Nuuausala. “So if we get that consistency on and off the field it will translate into us winning games, gaining respect in this green jersey and being a force to be reckoned with once again.”
Author: Simon McGuinness I Twitter: @Simon_mcg1