Enari Tuala has already shown how committed he is to making the most of a fresh start at the Newcastle Knights.
The young ex-North Queensland Cowboys centre had his first training session in sweltering conditions with his new club yesterday after spending the previous four days on the road, driving the 2100 kms from Townsville to Newcastle.
"Yeah, it was pretty tiring - it was about 26 hours all up - but my partner and I eventually got here," Tuala said.
"We left last Thursday and stopped at Brisbane and then Coffs Harbour to break up the trip. We got here yesterday and have already moved into a place at Charlestown. It's worth it. I'm just really excited for the opportunity."
The 21-year-old has signed a one year deal and comes highly credentialed. He debuted for the Cowboys in late 2017 as an 18-year-old and played 18 NRL games for the club.
A former schoolboy star who moved from Cairns to Townsville to attend Kirwan State High, he played Queensland Under 16's and Under 18's and scored 12 tries in 15 games alongside Kalyn Ponga in the Cowboys' Under 20's side in 2016.
He made the Junior Kangaroos side the following year prior to his NRL debut against the Cronulla Sharks in round 24. His one appearance in 2017 was followed by a further 10 last year but fitness issues restricted him to seven games last season with the Cowboys opting not to re-sign him. He had almost resigned himself to playing for the Northern Pride again in the Queensland Cup when his manager Isaac Moses rang to say there was an opportunity going in Newcastle if he was interested.
"I was stoked and just so excited when my manager rang to tell me there was an opportunity going at the Newcastle Knights," he said.
"I got told I wasn't going to get re-signed by the Cowboys so it was all up in the air at that stage as to what I would do."
Tuala says he only had himself to blame for his limited chances in the top grade last season and describes his shunning by the Cowboys as "a big wake-up call".
"I just wasn't playing real good footy and I wasn't meeting my fitness goals which was the main reason," he said.
"I let myself go off the field, I wasn't eating the right food and my skin-folds weren't good enough. Once I got told I wasn't going to get another contract, it was a big wake-up call, that's for sure."
Knights recruitment manager Alex McKinnon has high hopes for the 96kg centre.
The Knights have also signed Kayal Iro, the son of former Kiwi international Kevin, to a Jersey Flegg contract.