By Mary Maidiotis
St George Illawarra Dragons winger Eto Nabuli has admitted the transition into rugby league has been difficult for him and understands he needs to keep improving to keep his spot in the side.
The Fijian international grew up playing rugby union in his homeland and only began playing league in 2013, yet is already a crowd favourite amongst the Dragons’ faithful.
Nabuli, 26, conceded that although he is grateful for the opportunity to play first-grade after a long wait, it has been a steep learning curve for him and is eager to continue expanding his knowledge of the game.
“It has been hard for me to defend against the big boys, and the Broncos are a good quality team too, but it’s all about defending and helping each other as a team,” said Nabuli.
“It’s been different to what I was used to playing rugby, I now have to contest every kick, grubbers, and everything else.
“I’ve been sitting and waiting for a chance in first-grade for a long time so I am grateful that I’ve been given that chance because I have been giving all my best in everything I do.
“I know I need to keep on improving now and learning too, it’s been really hard for me to pick up the knowledge of the game but I need to keep developing as a player so I can keep my spot.
“It’s different from NSW Cup where I would run and score a try, but in the NRL the opposition has a great defence and they’ve studied how I attack and how I jump because they’ve been doing it in video, analysing my attack and my defence.
“I have looked at the other Fijian boys and how they play, how they carry, because they have been playing NRL longer than me and watching them can help me improve a lot.
“Only a few Fijian boys play in the NRL and they watch us back home in Fiji, so now when you walk down the street they can recognise you easily.”