Debutant Tupou comes full circle
The excitement is building for NRL veteran Anthony Tupou, who is set to make his debut for the nib Newcastle Knights on Saturday.
“It's really exciting, it’s been a while,” Tupou said.
In fact, it’s been more than a year since the 34-year-old former Australian international and NSW Origin player has taken the field in the NRL.
Going abroad to join the English Super League last year, Tupou’s last NRL game was with Cronulla in 2015.
Now he’ll get to come up against his old team mates and he’ll get to do it in red and blue.
“I have always wanted to play for the Knights,” Tupou said.
“It’s taken a few weeks longer but here we are and I’m pumped.
“I grew up here and I played all my juniors, 16s, 18s, 20s and reserve grade.
“I went off to the Roosters so I didn’t get that first grade debut with the Knights but 14, 15 years later, it’s finally happened.”
Tupou said it almost feels like his NRL debut all over again.
“When (Nathan) Browny said I’m going to play, that’s the feeling I had and it just took me back to when I got the call up for the Roosters," he said.
“I just thought at this stage in my career I’d never have those feelings again.”
Notching up seven years with the Cronulla Sharks, Tupou also knows a thing or two about this weekend’s opponents.
“They are an awesome side, they’re strong and tough and they’ll be playing the whole 80 minutes and that’s what I’ve said that to the boys,” explained Tupou.
“We’re a team that needs to start strong and the boys know that so that’s what we’ll focus on.”
Tupou is also adamant that he has plenty of minutes in him.
“It will be an impact role off the bench, hopefully after 20 minutes I’ll come on and do my thing and then after half time however long the coach wants to play me, I’ll be ready,” Tupou added.
“I have played a few games in reserve grade and I’ve played a few big minutes, 65, 70 minute games so I’m pretty confident.”
The Knights clash with the Sharks on Saturday at Southern Cross Group Stadium, kick-off at 3pm.