Johnny-come-lately Tuqiri expects nerves to strike just before his latest switch
March 14, 2010
Lote Tuqiri expects it won’t be until he’s in his car tomorrow night and driving to the Sydney Football Stadium - presuming he’s picked to play, of course - that he’ll feel the first shudder stemming from the fear of failure.
“When I visualise my playing for the Wests Tigers it’s all positive, mate,” said 30-year-old Tuqiri, who formed a lethal partnership with Wendell Sailor at Brisbane. "I see myself putting in for the boys and not letting the team down. If a mistake happens I’ll just get on with it … but I haven’t thought much about it [trepidation] to that great a degree.
“The fear will be there when I go to game. The fear of failure is one thing but that’s good … I think.”
Tuqiri, who, with 67 Tests as a Wallaby is considered the most successful of Australia’s league-to-union converts, appreciated he is under incredible scrutiny after eight years out of the NRL.
“Things could all be blown out of proportion with the comeback to league,” he said. “But I have signed for three years, mate. I’ve got to do my job. I’ve got to get in the team first. These guys [the Tigers squad] have been training hard for a few months while I’ve played rugby overseas … I know what to do but the whole team dynamic, well obviously I haven’t been involved with a lot of the boys and the mental aspect is a huge thing in rugby league.”
Coach Tim Sheens has stressed that Tuqiri is a long-term project and he will give him time to find his feet, a plan that is endorsed by club boss Stephen Humphreys.
“He’s been signed for three years and we’re extremely confident we’ll get good value over the three years,‘’ Humphreys said. ''I think we need to be realistic in our expectations.”
Tigers skipper Robbie Farah respected Tuqiri’s decision to make what he described as a “tough” call - to shun the “easy” money by playing rugby in France to take another shot at the NRL. "But if you were to ask 97 per cent of athletes it’s all about proving yourself against the best; it’s not just about money,‘’ he said.
Tuqiri said the temptation to return and prove himself in the NRL was too tough to resist. “I’m not saying that France isn’t a tough competition but I wanted to test myself; I could’ve gone there and stayed in my comfort zone and just made money,” he said. “But I don’t mind the pressure of the NRL and if I know one thing, it’s that I’m under pressure for the next couple of years.”
LOTE’S PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta): I’ve watched him and he’s sensational. Seeing him represent Fiji made me proud because of my heritage.
2. Darren Lockyer (Brisbane): I played alongside him at the Broncos and it’s going to be strange to play against him. He’s a legend.
3. Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland): He defends as well as he attacks … he has it all. He was one of those blokes who made me think ‘how good would it be to play against him?’ I’ll find out now.
I think Sheens will use him off the bench against manly with Fitz starting easing him into it
I dont. The Fonz would hate to use an interchange like that for nothing. It would surprise me if he did that.
Why do you call him the Fonz again? I’ve completely forgotten the original meaning behind it.