Hull FC are going all out for 2020, and one of the club’s new signings Manu Ma’u is about as big as it gets.
Ma’u, a current Tongan international, actually turned down offers from NRL clubs including his current side Parramatta to join Hull FC. That’s a statement, and it says a lot about the pulling power of the Black and Whites.
”It was a good opportunity, the offer and the chance with Hull is too good to say no,” Ma’u told NRL.com.
“Security-wise too, it’s two years with an option and I’m 31 next month.
“It was too good to pass up and I was real nervous trying to figure out how to tell Brad Arthur (Parramatta coach). He’s got a family of his own though, so he understood straight away.
“He’s been my only coach in the NRL. He’s straight up and down and just tells me how it is, always has and that’s so good.
“I love that. He tells me what to do and how to do my job, it’s been really good for me. If I get the shits too and have played a bad game or whatever BA looks after me.
“He reminds me it’s just a game. It is just footy because I can take it too seriously sometimes.”
Lee Radford at Hull FC is a similar sort of bloke. He’s straight up, honest, and is tight with his playing group.
That bond, added to a mix of fellow Islanders at the club, will ensure Ma’u settles in.
For the player it’s been some journey, from a troubled youth to becoming a fearsome NRL back rower, and for that he has Parramatta to thank.
“Parramatta means so much to me,” Ma’u explained.
“This club has changed my life, saved it in some ways. I’m forever in debt to the club and BA, his staff and my support network back in NZ, as well as my family, my wife and kids.
“I never thought I’d make it to this point, it’s going to be hard leaving, it’s going to be emotional. I don’t know if there will be tears, I’m still smiling now.
“Knowing it’s my last year, it’s going to be emotional, but I’m going to play every game like it’s my last and see how far it can go.”
After that, it’s to Super League and Hull FC for the next two years.
Expectation is aplenty – this is a bloke that even the petrifying Sika Manu says he is scared of after all. But for Ma’u this is a big opportunity.
Of course the ‘Tongan Terminator’ will be taking over from one of either Mark Minichiello or Sika Manu. Massive boots to fill.
Speaking on his move to Hull FC he said at his signings announcement: “I’m hugely excited for the challenge. I’ve read so much about Super League and about Hull FC itself, particularly about the passionate fans over there.
“Having a young family with a wife and three kids, it was important they were happy with the decision, and they were. We’re all thrilled.
“I’m at a stage now where I want to challenge myself overseas and move out of my comfort zone. Hull have given me that chance.”