Taking to the training paddock after the Christmas break can be a hard task for the fittest of players with six weeks of pre-season under the belt, let alone for one who’s returned for the very first time after representing in the Four Nations.
Yet for David Fa’alogo, who’s captained Samoa in the Four Nations, he was eager to get back into the swing and up to speed with the rest of the playing squad this week.
“We’ve done a bit of hard work yesterday and today, which is normal, but it’s nice to get back into it and see the players and coaches and everyone’s smiling faces,” Fa’alogo said on Tuesday.
“I had a suspicion I would come back and be straight into it. I’m obviously six weeks behind, so if I was to ease into it, it’d probably take a little bit longer.”
Fa’alogo first touched base with the team at a training camp held in Port Stephens before the break, which was also his first chance to meet the Club’s new recruits.
“It was good to see the players and to familiarise yourself the new faces and coaches,” he said.
He expects the likes of Tariq Sims, Jack Stockwell as well as emerging players Sam Mataora and Paterika Vaivai to provide the squad with a sizeable boost.
“They are training really well and I’m looking forward to playing with those guys in the trial and seeing how they go and how we line up together,” Fa'alogo said.
“We did a bit of team bonding (during camp) which brought some honesty and truth out of it.
“I think it’s for the better and we are only going to thrive from that."
The Samoan representative also returns to a new head coach in Rick Stone, who Fa’alogo is already familiar.
“He’s quiet a calm coach and he is really hard on the one percenters and the little things so that’s a good thing,” he said.
Fa’alogo reflects on his role in Samoa’s Four Nations campaign as a highlight in his career that now spans more than a decade.
“It was great experience after playing the World Cup with Samoa, then to captain Samoa in the Four Nations, it was a great honour and privilege,” he said.
At the conclusion of 2014 season, the 34-year-old extended his contract with the Club for a further year and is steadfast on making the most of the opportunity to continue his passion.
“Last year I just wanted to play first grade and see if I could still compete, they say age is only a number,” he said.
“Stoney had a chat to me after the season to see what I wanted, and I accepted what he wanted and got another year to play.
“I’m still living the dream.”