He might be one of just two players over 30 set to take the field this Sunday for Wests Tigers against the Brisbane Broncos, but Dene Halatau says he’s feels rejuvenated and as fresh as ever — and he says that’s all down to the young guys in the team.
The 32-year-old Halatau — who will line up alongside the 33-year-old Pat Richards this weekend as the sole “veterans” of the side — said that while still managing a bicep injury and rigors that come through playing a 13th straight season in the NRL, he feels refreshed off the bye and ready to take on the top-of-the-table Broncos this week.
“Yeah, definitely feeling refreshed at the moment,” Halatau said on Monday.
“I had a good time with the family [over the bye weekend] and spent a lot of time with the kids and that really refreshed me. The body is feeling really good now.
“I think one of the most pleasing things is that we’ve got a young side,” he continued.
“When you’re not winning games, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused at training, but the young guys are really putting in and enjoying training, which rubs off.”
With captain Robbie Farah again expected to be touch-and-go as he tries to overcome a broken hand that saw him ruled out of Origin Game III last Wednesday, Halatau said that there was extra importance on the experienced guys stepping up on the field this week.
“In the games, us experienced guys need to lead on the field,” he said.
“It’s also really key that we lead with our words too. When you have a younger side, things can go a bit quiet on the field when things aren’t going your way, so for us older boys, it’s up to us to lead the way in that regard and not let the talk drop off.”
Sunday’s game also marks a special personal milestone for Halatau, who becomes just the 11th player to play 150 first-grade games for Wests Tigers — saying.
“It’s great to be able to reach that mark,” Halatau enthused.
“I started my career here and spent a lot of time here before some time at the Bulldogs, so to get 150 games for the Club is a big honour and it’s one that I’m proud of.”