TIM Lafai would be easy to spot if he had his way after swapping sultry Sydney for snowy Salford – he would have extra clothes on to play!
But the Samoan centre is eager to seize a second chance in professional rugby league after finding himself working on building sites.
Lafai admits getting back into a full-time environment was a shock to his system after going two years without a game.
Having dropped to the NRL reserve ranks, he was working a day job – now he is back and ready to help Salford upset a few, although extra layers would be nice.
Lafai, 30, said: “I keep tossing up to our coach, Paul Rowley, ‘Could I play in a tracksuit?’ He just laughs!
“At training, you can’t be standing still for too long as your joints start to freeze up, so I try to keep moving – the others just look at me and laugh.
“When I head out for training in my full jacket and jumper. I’m like, ‘How do you guys do it?’ They say, ‘This is nice weather, what are you on about?’
“But it was two years since I played. Between that I was doing a bit of labouring and traffic control on construction sites. With a family, you can’t afford to not work.
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“I was playing part-time but Covid-19 put a stop to the reserve competition, so I worked full-time. Before I played at Castleford, my last game was for Canterbury in 2020!”
Lafai will go up against old school pal Dom Peyroux when Salford go to make it two wins from two against Toulouse today.
Salford got off to a flier by silencing a 10,500 sell-out at Castleford – now boss Rowley hopes for a similar ‘event’ atmosphere on his home bow.
And he feels having Toulouse in the top flight is a good thing, saying: “They’ve earned the right to be in Super League. Their growth has been organic.
“They’re full of good players and have a good coach in Sylvain Houles. I support both French teams, I’ve enjoyed what they’ve done.
“But I hope this game has more of an event-type atmosphere. I’m sure the people of Salford and Manchester have warm jackets, so put them on!”
Source: The Sun
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