NEW big Giants signing David Fa’alogo admits he and his family are taking a real step into the unknown.
The 29-year-old New Zealand Test second-rower arrived in England for the first time two days ago with his wife Melissa and four-year-old son Bailey.
Even though the former South Sydney Rabbitohs star has never visited the country before, it didn’t prevent him from signing a three-year Super League contract.
And having taken his first look around the town and the stadium and met his new teammates for the first time, he is already confident it will prove an exciting time in his life.
“This is obviously a massive move for my family and myself, but we’re really excited about it,” said the powerful back-row forward.
“Although we’ve never visited England before, playing in Super League has always been a goal of mine and it’s something my wife and myself spoke about when I was playing in the Australian NRL.
“I’ve always fancied testing myself in Super League, while experiencing a totally different culture at the same time, and this seemed the ideal time to make that move.
“I have to admit, I don’t know too much about many of the teams and the players competing in Super League, including a fair number of my new teammates at this stage!
“But from what I’ve seen from watching Super League, it does look a very exciting brand of footy.
“I always thought the NRL was faster, but I now know Super League is quite speedy and more like ‘touch rugby’ than back in Australia.
“I’m sure it’ll take me a little while to get used to it, but I definitely believe I’ve got the sort of game to adapt to it, even though I’m not exactly the quickest player in the world!
“But I do believe I can bring a lot of experience for the younger players at the club to come through and provide a bit of aggression to help give the pack a bit more power.
“I’m already really excited about playing for the Giants for the first time.
“Obviously, I’m recovering from my minor knee and ankle operations at this stage, but all being well I’ll be 100% by mid-January and be able to play in at least one of the trial games. That’ll be happy days.”
Although Fa’alogo’s knowledge of the Giants may not be the greatest right now, he does know several of the players, particularly the club’s strong New Zealand Test contingent of David Faiumu, Jamahl Lolesi and Paul Whatuira, as well as head coach Nathan Brown.
And he admits that link was key to him choosing the Giants.
“Nathan being the coach was a very big factor in deciding to come to Huddersfield,” he added.
“We all saw what a good job he did at St George in the NRL, and what a great job he is doing at the Giants.
“He’s clearly got a great future ahead of him, and it’s going to be a fantastic experience learning off him, which I know I will.
“What was also a consideration for me was that I know some of the boys who are already here.
“I’ve been part of the Kiwi set-up with three of the players and I also know Brad Drew from back in Australia, so I was delighted when he re-joined.
“On top of that, I’m looking forward to playing alongside Eorl Crabtree, because I was very impressed with the way he played for England in the Four Nations.
“But, to be honest, I’m looking forward to everything about playing for the Giants in Super League.
“This is the start of what I’m sure will be an awesome three years for us here.
“I know the weather isn’t that cracking right now. It’s cold, wet and windy.
“But I’m a Kiwi, I’m used to weather like this. In fact, it reminds me of home!”
The temperatures aren’t expected to be that much hotter – if at all – when Fa’alogo hopes to make his Giants bow.
With a mid-January recovery date set for the powerful forward, it’s possible he could wear the claret and gold for the first time in a trial clash against Castleford Tigers at The Jungle on Tuesday, January 26 (7.30).
Both clubs will be fielding strong squads, which means the Tigers could include former Giants James Evans, Ryan Clayton, Ryan Hudson, Stuart Jones, Steve Snitch and Paul Jackson in their line-ups.
Exactly who will be in the Giants side obviously won’t be decided until much nearer the time, with the fixture one of several trial games expected to be announced shortly.