Paterson’s immediate impact is keenly felt by Rovers

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RARELY can an overseas import have settled into the English style of rugby league quite as quickly as Hull KR’s Corey Paterson.

Traditionally, the major problem with any recruit from the southern hemisphere has been the time it takes for the player to acclimatise to not only playing his football on the other side of the world, but living here too.

Super League clubs do not truly expect many of their Australian, New Zealand or South Sea Island captures to really hit top form until their second season at least.

That is if they last that long.

There is a lengthy list of failed captures who simply never got to grips with such a massive change in lifestyle, homesickness and the cursed weather being reasons for their swift return.

Nowadays, in the present financial climate, you can add in the extra negatives of the Australian dollar’s strength against the pound and the sudden closure of tax loopholes for overseas signings that have left many NRL stars over here further high and dry.

Regardless, there are no such complaints from Australian second-row Paterson who, just eight weeks after making his debut for Hull KR, already looks every inch as comfortable and impressive as one of his famous predecessors at the East Yorkshire club.

There is an obvious likeness with Clint Newton, the rangy ex-Melbourne Storm forward who became a hero at Craven Park before returning to the NRL 18 months ago, and it is not just because they play the same position.

Their styles are similar, both offering a constantly potent attacking option out wide, the ability to offload freely and a real ruggedness in defence, while each is an obvious leader for the Robins.

Dynamic Paterson, who joined from North Queensland Cowboys, has instantly become a man the rest of Super League have had to learn about fast.

Ahead of tomorrow night’s visit from Castleford Tigers, he had made eight clean breaks – third highest in the competition – while he is also in the top 10 for metres made, tackle busts and offloads.

There is a sense of expectation every time he takes possession yet Paterson remains modest about this effortless transition.

“It’s been good and a great experience,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

“But I’ve had some good players around me and that’s all made my job a bit easier so far.

“There are still areas of my game I want to improve on, but I’m enjoying it here. Every game has been tough, physical, and there’s been some good tries scored too.”

Considering he is still only 25, Paterson already has an interesting background.

After his debut NRL season with Newcastle Knights in 2007, he toured America and visited various NFL clubs at the end of the following year, actually trialling as a punter at Oakland Raiders.

That will come as no surprise to anyone at Bradford on Sunday who saw him boom a huge restart out on the full, one of his few blatant errors so far.

Paterson suffered from depression in 2009, missing a number of Knights games, but returned well the following season and then converted to Islam two years ago.

That entails Ramadan, the holy month of fasting that all Muslims undertake when no food or drink is taken during daylight hours and something which can cause obvious difficulties for a professional sportsman.

When you take in the fact he also coached the Hawaiian All-Stars against Queensland Indigenous on his way over to Britain, you can see a little of that variety.

He has signed a two-year deal with Rovers and, if his current form persists, there would be no shock if he was drafted into the Exiles to face England in June.

“We’ll see what happens,” Paterson continued. “It’s a long way away.

“It’s always nice to be part of a rep’ side, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m just thinking about Castleford at the moment.

“They are going to be tough to beat. Any Super League team can defeat any other on their day – I realise that here – so we’ll give them the respect they deserve.”

Both clubs could do with a victory; Rovers saw the good work achieved with victories over Warrington and London undone with an error-strewn 34-12 reverse at Odsal, while Castleford have not won in their last four and were embarrassed at Hull as well as at home to London on Sunday.

“In Rangi Chase, Weller Hauraki and Jake Webster, they have some quality players and many who I’ve played against back home,” added the ex-Australian Schoolboys international.

“It’s going to be a big challenge as Castleford are desperate for a win, but we’re looking at bouncing straight back after what happened last week.”

There is no doubting Hull KR’s prolific nature. Heading into round nine, no side had scored more than their 36 tries, level with Wigan Warriors.

However, while Wigan miss fewer tackles than any other team – barely six per match – Rovers are the third-worst club for that error, averaging more than 10.

It does not take a genius to work out what their problem has been.

“Our defence needs to be better,” conceded Perth-born Paterson.

“That and just our discipline on our ball control.

“We’ve had a bit of an up and down year and we need to keep working hard at training to get these things right.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a few more wins than the three so far and it’s a long year yet.

“But we have to knuckle down and it’s important we show we’ve improved when Castleford arrive here.”