By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
Leeson Ah Mau is a man of few words so when the Dragons prop told Mose Masoe to join the Red V earlier this year, the former St Helens big man had to listen.
Having grown up playing against Ah Mau, Masoe has progressed through the grades with his now-teammate and enjoyed some success with him along the way.
Along with fellow Dragons recruit Dunamis Lui, Masoe and Ah Mau played their part in Samoa's successful Four Nations campaign at the end of last year – a bond they're looking to make a permanent one in first grade.
Plenty of clubs were reportedly interested in the 26-year-old former Panther and Rooster but for Masoe, the words of Ah Mau counted for a lot.
"You know Lees he doesn't really talk so when he did I definitely had to listen. It's the most I've ever heard him talk actually. He told me Wollongong would be good for my family and everything was good in terms of lifestyle and culture," Masoe told NRL.com.
"When I was thinking of signing with the Dragons I talked to Leeson about it and he was really excited and told me I had to sign."
Another factor Masoe had to consider was his eight-year-old son who stayed behind in Australia with his mother.
Even as he built upon his cult hero status at St Helens – especially during their 2014 Super League premiership campaign – alongside his partner and two young daughters, Masoe knew his time in the English game was limited.
"That was a big point for me, coming home to Australia, because I have a son over here. I had him over last Christmas for like two months and he said he'd like me to come home," Masoe said.
"Even then my younger kids didn't have any family over in England to hang out with on the weekends so it was a matter of making everyone happy [coming back to Australia].
"Some of the things before we left, just like being outdoors and going to the beach, we took for granted. We really have enjoyed having the family close, and for me, being back in the NRL is exciting."
Meanwhile, Masoe also backed former coach Nathan Brown to do well at the Newcastle Knights in 2016.
"I learnt a lot over there under some good coaches like Nathan Brown. He really taught me how to play as a front-rower which was good," Masoe said.
"There were plenty of good little tips that I picked up so the Super League experience definitely helped me as a player. He's a really good coach in the way he thinks about the game and he'll do well in Newcastle."