After Giant leap, Fulton keen to show new maturity
By JOSH RAKIC ….January 24, 2010
IF 2009 was Liam Fulton’s toughest year as a professional footballer, then 2010 is shaping up as his best.
Forced out of the Wests Tigers last year to relieve their salary-cap pressure, the premiership-winning back-rower is back in black, gold and white after a one-year hiatus playing for Huddersfield Giants in the English Super League.
And the 25-year-old says he’s a more complete footballer than when he left. A more complete person, too. Fulton is training the house down courtesy of his pending nuptials, while his businesses Sporty Stuff and Gibbs and Fulton Holdings vending machines are thriving.
‘‘Everything off the field is going great and I’m actually enjoying training - as much as you can,’’ the likeable larrikin said.
''It’s good to be back at the Tigers with all the boys and with all the new faces, there’s a really fresh feeling to it. It’s almost like a new club, sort of.
‘‘It’s good to be back with all these boys - especially Bryce Gibbs, my business partner - for the start of the season again. I was always going to come back. At least I hoped I’d be able to - I only signed a one-year deal over there. It was a good experience but I’m glad to be back.’’
Fulton said his stint in the English Super League had made him a more complete player and he’s confident Tigers are in for their best year since winning the premiership five years ago.
He returns to the club with fellow 2005 premiership member Daniel Fitzhenry, who went to Hull KR, and said fellow UK imports Jason Cayless, Tame Tupou and Mark Flanagan would give the Tigers the extra ingredients they needed to make the finals for the first since their title-winning year.
‘‘They’re all players with a lot to offer and with Steve Folkes on board you won’t find a fitter team come March,’’ he said.
‘‘I think all of us have learned a lot from going to the UK.’’
The foursome join fellow recruits Arana Taumata, Geoff Daniela, Mitch Brown and Junior Moors. And club officials say Fulton’s return, in particular, has sparked morale.
‘‘Particularly with Bryce Gibbs,’’ an official said.
‘‘I think he sort of lost his way a bit without Liam around but now he’s got a real bounce in his step.’’
Gibbs owns the vending machine business with his fellow forward, and the duo is in the process of expanding their latest venture, Sporty Stuff. ‘‘We started about 18 months ago but when I went to England we had to put it on the back burner,’’ Fulton said.
Gibbs added: ‘‘It’s personalised printing for anything - banners, shirts, key rings, posters, letterheads, envelopes, footballs. Anything that can be printed on, we’ll print your photo, logo or slogan on it.’’
The pair own and operate 20 interactive gaming vending machines throughout Sydney, and Fulton said the success of the business had given them the nous and confidence to put more money into their printing venture.
‘‘We’re both 25 and we want to have something to go into when our careers are over,’’ Fulton said.
''We’re learning as we go but we’re making money, too.
''My loan will be paid off in the next few months and we should have Bryce’s paid off before the end of the year hopefully, so we should be turning a profit this time next year.
''The machines have been making enough money to pay our loans off and we don’t withdraw anything from it.
‘‘We spend one day a week on the business and it’s something we really enjoy.’’
Looks like Liam’s life after football is on the way up, same for Gibbs too. Just hope both these boys have a big 2010 on the fied for the Tigers. I’m confident Gibbs will improve upon his solid form from last year, as for Fulton, well he hasn’t got any bigger so he’s going to useless if used as a battering ram so hopefully he’s smartly and played wide of the ruck in attack.
I agree Simonthetiger with your opinion of Fulton ! I believe he will have a great year, especially with the experience he has gained whilst being in SL.
IVE BEEN SAYING FULTON WIL BE GREAT FOR 6 MONTHS.MOST PEOPLE SOUND LIKE DOUBTERS ON
FULTON BUT WITH HIM BACK LOOK FOR BOTH HIM AND GIBBSY TO HAVE BIG ONES.
More grunt means that Liam can run off Bunji, off the edges and do plenty of defensive work.
Im expecting him to score a few this year and get a few balls away,as well as racking up plenty of important tackles.
IMO he gives our pack a very nice balance to it.
and then Moltzen off him……
Wasn’t part of the reason Fulton went over to the ESL to improve his football…
He may not have bulked up but I hear he’s the fittest he’s ever been…can’t wait for teams to underestimate him when he crashes over the tryline…
Fulton and Gibbs for that matter seem to have a fair bit of competition for spots this year:
Galloway, Cayless, Ellis, Moors, Heighno, Payten, Flanagan, Tupou - I have not even started listing the younger players looking for a shot either.
There are a maximum of 9 spots for these forwards…the competition should be healthy.
TBH my attitude has changed quite alot and I’m looking forward to seeing Fulton at lock (well atleast for the start of the season anyway). I’m still dissapointed in loosing Galea for Fulton, but ah well… I can’t wait for the season to start and I’m looking forward to seeing Fulton back in the side…
Up the tiges!