IT IS safe to say Hull KR second-row Tyrone McCarthy is unafraid of making big decisions.
After all, the Ireland vice-captain opted to walk away from his hometown club Warrington Wolves, where he had won two Challenge Cups, to try life at lesser-known Australian outfit Northern Pride 18 months ago.
Also, after a stellar year helping Jason Demetriou’s Pride win the Queensland Cup Grand Final, he refused other deals to stay Down Under, preferring a move back to Super League with a struggling KR side that had failed to make the 2014 play-offs.
However, ahead of his first return to Warrington tomorrow, the industrious forward rightly has full conviction in his actions.
“Initially, I had an opportunity to stay at Warrington so it was a big decision to leave back then,” he recalled to The Yorkshire Post.
“I was fairly happy there, but just a bit disappointed with the game time I was getting.
“The opportunity to go out to Australia was something I wanted to do and I thought ‘why not, it’s something different’.
“Though I wouldn’t say I was down before, it did really give me a positive outlook on the sport again. Being in a successful team over there really helped my game and I enjoyed what I was doing.
“There was some interest from a few clubs out there for this year.
“But when I spoke to Chezzy (Rovers’ head coach Chris Chester) and Hull KR talked about what they wanted to do here, how highly they regarded me and what they thought I could bring to the club, it sort of fitted what I wanted to achieve, too. I’m really loving life at Hull KR now, they’re a great set of boys, the coaching staff are great and I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Even more so after Sunday’s excellent win over Wigan Warriors, their first of the season and one that came despite trailing 20-6 early in the second period.
McCarthy, famously picked by Wolves coach Tony Smith for the 2009 Challenge Cup final less than a fortnight after making his Super League debut at the age of 20, impressed and is relishing the chance to do so quickly again,
“Obviously Warrington’s my hometown and previous Super League club, too, so I’ve a lot of friends there and I am excited to go back,” he said, with Wolves sure to be hurting after a heavy loss in Perpignan.
“I’m pretty sure Tony will have rallied them and worked on what went wrong. He is a fantastic coach. I learned a lot from him. He improves players.
“But we just have to focus on what we can do. We showed against Wigan we are a great team and now we just have to get that consistency going.
“We’ll go with that positive mindset to get a win.”
On his decision to leave the Cheshire club, with whom he also scored a try in the 2012 Challenge Cup victory over Leeds, he said: “Obviously the competition for places when I was at Warrington was really high with some world-class players in front of me.
“There was some great young players coming through, too, so if you made a few mistakes you probably wouldn’t play the week after. But I got to do that last year at Pride; I got more opportunity, a chance to work on things, and I knew I’d got the next week to put it right if it didn’t go well.
“It’s the same at Hull KR now. I’ve lots to work on but hopefully performances can build and build throughout the year.”
On those Wolves back-rows, although former Kangaroo Trent Waterhouse has since departed, McCarthy earmarked the veteran England international Ben Westwood as a real guiding light.
“Bennie is a fantastic player,” he said. “He’s a bit of a freak at times with his workload, but Wolves have got some good young back-rows like (James) Laithwaite and (Ben) Currie too and that’s my challenge Sunday, to make sure I match up to these guys and then get over the top of them.
“That’s the same for the whole team one to 13. We showed that bit of extra attitude in defence against Wigan that we’d been lacking previously. We’ll need to show that again at Warrington.”