Faifai Loa: Fresh Start Is Good
By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
Kalifa Faifai Loa is ready to take the fresh start on offer at the Dragons, upon his return to the club he made his NRL debut for five seasons ago.
The former Titans winger was restricted to just seven games in the past season, but his return to Wollongong has given him an opportunity to find peace of mind and acclimatise back into the new and old of the Red V.
So what's changed?
"Besides Mitch Rein's hair?" Faifai Loa laughed to NRL.com..
"But seriously all the facilities have changed under Mary [coach Paul McGregor) and the coaching staff has changed.
"Last time I was here I was playing alongside Dean Young and Ben Hornby and now they're assistant coaches, so it goes to show how quick everything can happen. I was only playing alongside them five years ago.
"But the fresh start has been good. They're always good and it's great to be back in Wollongong."
A lot has changed since the 25-year-old departed the Dragons.
"I'm way more mature now, I have a girlfriend. All the boys laugh at me when they see me with a girl so hopefully that means I have changed," Faifai Loa said.
"She's good, helps me with the cooking and stuff, so it makes life a bit easier in that sense too."
Faifai Loa also outlined his goal to be in the Dragons' Round 1 team, something he's never been able to achieve in his NRL career having played just 29 games in the past four seasons.
It won't come easy though with the two-time Kiwi and Kurt Mann joining the club to fight for first grade spots alongside Peter Mata'utia, Jason Nightingale, Dylan Farrell, Kiti Glymin and Euan Aitken, in what is one of the NRL's strongest three-quarter lines.
Though his recently adopted team-first approach helps him deal with his rollercoaster career.
"My seasons usually, for the past few years anyway, I'd play the last six or seven games which is good. I've never started Round 1 ever, so hopefully I can do it in 2016. It's a goal of mine so hopefully I can do it," Faifai Loa said.
"[In my years at the Cowboys and Titans] I worked out the reason I wasn't getting picked [in first grade] was because I'm kicking stones in Q Cup, so it's why I thought I'd try my best from there."