St George Illawarra Dragons utility Josh Ailaomai is surviving his first ever preseason with the Red-and-Whites and is aspiring to make his first grade debut this coming season.
The Te Aroha Eels junior and former Sydney Roosters player feels welcome at the Red V and looks to Captain Ben Creagh for guidance in professionalism on and off the field, while prop Dan Hunt provides comic relief.
The 22-year-old hopes to be selected for the Auckland Nines Tournament but finds focusing on preseason training and working on his fitness his top priority.
“I’m finding it pretty tough, but I’m enjoying myself,” said Ailaomai.
“I hope to make my NRL debut this season, I’m trying my best at training with the boys and working toward my goals.
“I’m feeling fitter and stronger and I’ve been working with the dietitian and our fitness coach.
“My body is adapting to the tougher training, but I still get little bumps and bruises every now and then.
“There are a few players I look up to who are very professional and who I’d like to play alongside; Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin in particular.
“Dan Hunt is quite a character at training, he’s probably the joker of the team.
“My main goals for 2014 are to keep fit, stay healthy with no injuries and hopefully play for the Red V.
“If I was to be selected I would love to go over to play in the Auckland Nines.
“Wollongong is really nice, I just don’t like the sun because I get too dark, I like to stay out of the sun as much as possible.
“Away from footy I like to relax at home, clean and do a bit of housework, wash the clothes and maybe take the dog for a walk.”