Canberra Raiders recruit Junior Paulo appears to have settled in well at his new home following his mid-season move to the nation's capital.
Having played 53 games for the Parramatta Eels over the past four seasons, Paulo was granted an early release to join the Green Machine after earlier signing a two-year deal with the club that would have seen him play there from 2017 onwards.
The giant prop wasted little time in making an impression in his new colours, running for an impressive 128 metres from 11 carries in a surprise start against the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night.
With his move still in its infancy, Paulo has no regrets whatsoever about making the switch, and credited his new teammates for making the change a smooth one.
"I didn't expect to be down here in Canberra so soon," the new Raiders wrecking ball said.
"With what's been happening in Sydney with me, I just felt like this was the best move for myself and especially for my kids as well, being a young father.
"I was actually comfortable after pretty much my first day here. Last week the boys were welcoming – and also the club – so it's been an easy transition for me. I'm calling it home for the next couple of years so I'm pretty much used to it."
The change in scenery from the 'big smoke' of Sydney to the more relaxed Canberra lifestyle has been welcomed by the 22-year-old who can't wait to bring his partner and two children to the nation's capital.
"I noticed the difference straight away," Paulo said when asked to compare the two cities.
"I just got back from Sydney this morning – I had to drop my missus and kids off – I guess it's the traffic as well; that's the one thing I don't miss about Sydney.
"Hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll sort out a place for them and we'll settle in as a family.
"Coming to Canberra, like I said, I'm calling it home. It's pretty much God's country."
Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer welcomed Paulo's signing after bearing the full brunt of his new teammate when he was still at the Eels.
"It's pretty handy to pick him up this time of year especially with the few injuries we've had there in the middle," Sezer said.
"He's a damaging ball runner. We played against him in Round 6 and I think he was one of their best against our pack so it's good to have him on our side."
Paulo's size will be crucial against a Brisbane Broncos side desperate to bounce back from three straight losses when the teams meet this week.
The Raiders have only won once in Brisbane since 2005 but victory on Thursday night would see them leapfrog their northern rivals into fourth place should the Bulldogs lose against the Sharks on Monday night.
"They've had a few losses the past few weeks," the Raiders halfback said.
"They're a quality team and they'll be looking to rectify that, especially at Suncorp. It'll be a big challenge for us."
Author: Martin Gabor | This article first appeared on NRL.com