WHENEVER times get tough for new Wakefield Trinity signing Junior Sa’u, he may remember some sage advice from his legendary former Melbourne Storm colleague Billy Slater.
Powerful centre Sa’u debuts at London Broncos today after joining from Salford Red Devils on a month’s loan.
For all of his undoubted talent, he had fallen out of favour at his parent club and not played for the last three weeks.
It has, then, been a difficult time and, understandably, he is looking forward to getting back in action for Wakefield.
But, explaining the situation, Sa’u insisted: “ It’s out of my control what the coach picks; if he thinks that’s the best 17 to win the game then so be it.
“If I’m not in the squad, I still have a part to play in making sure those boys perform.
“You can either kick stones or do something about it. I learned at Melbourne that even if you’re not in the 17, you still have a part to play. I’ve always been competitive and tried to help the boys even when I’ve not been in the team at Salford.”
Sa’u, 32, only played a handful of games for Storm after signing with the then NRL champions in 2013 from Newcastle Knights but it was an invaluable experience.
“Melbourne was a turning point for my career,” he said.
“I stayed at a similar level until I went there because of the culture and mindset of the club.
“Playing with the three best players in the world in Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater... they led from the front.
“I’d rock up to training at 7am and they’d be there at 6am.
“Billy once told me that to always get better, you never stop learning. So every day when I come in, there’s always something I can prove to myself and improve each time I train.”
Sa’u is a perfect fit for Trinity who continue to be without fellow Aucklander – injured Dream Team centre Bill Tupou.
“I had a couple of hours to think about it but I needed some game-time and I felt it was a great opportunity, so I decided to grab it with both hands,” he said.
“I want to showcase what I’m all about. There’ll be a couple of cobwebs to blow off but I’m excited to be on the pitch again.”
Wakefield started this round in third position and will look to keep their play-offs hopes on course with another victory in Ealing.
However, they lost at newly-promoted London - who are bottom with just three wins - on the opening day.
Sa’u said: “London have been outstanding; they’re a team that don’t go away and they’ve surprised a few teams this year.
“I played against them with Salford and regardless of the score (24-0 win), they never gave up.
“We’ve got to keep to our game-plan and if we do that, we’ll come away with the win.”
Sa’u, who represented New Zealand nine times, has scored 60 tries in 141 games for Salford since moving from Melbourne.
He is unsure about what will happen at the end of the loan deal and said: “I’m not looking too far ahead.
“I’m just focusing on this week and making sure my preparation is spot on, because when it is, I give myself every chance of playing well.
“I’ll let my footy do the talking. I’m looking forward to pulling on the (Wakefield) jersey and giving it my all.
“A couple of boys I played with at Salford like Koppy (Craig Kopczak) and Mason (Caton-Brown). I know them quite well.
“I’m looking forward to teaming up with them and just having fun because that’s what we play for.
“I want to enjoy my time here and give it my absolute everything.”