After a frantic month filled with some of the biggest moves in his career, exciting young outside back Josh Addo-Carr says he couldn’t be happier with his decision to join Wests Tigers as he continues his push for an eventual first-grade debut.
Having played two seasons with the Cronulla Sharks’ Holden Cup side, Addo-Carr made the big call to leave the Shire and join Wests Tigers in 2016 — making the step up from the under-20’s program to the extended first-grade squad at the same time.
The La Perouse junior had been a standout player for the Sharks in that time — scoring 28 tries in 44 games — and ended 2015 with the NYC Player’s Player of the Year Award.
With Michael Gordon departing, options were certainly there for the talented youngster to continue his push towards first-grade at the Sharks, before he opted to join Wests Tigers and further his development alongside some of the brightest young talent in the game.
Three weeks into pre-season, it’s a decision Addo-Carr says he definitely isn’t regretting.
“It’s been outstanding coming here,” Addo-Carr said. “Really good.
“To be honest, I was a bit nervous coming into a new Club and meeting new boys — especially being the only Indigenous guy — but the boys have been really good to me.
"I had played against most of them before, but I didn’t know any of them that well until now. They’re all champion blokes here and I feel really settled right away.”
If moving Clubs didn’t require enough adjustment on the part of Addo-Carr, the 20-year-old has also had to manage his transition from the Holden Cup to NRL squad, admitting that getting used to being in full-time training has been tough, but rewarding so far.
“Pre-season has been tough, no doubt about it,” he said. “We did the sand dunes last weekend that was without a doubt the hardest session I’ve ever done.
“At the same time, though, the body is doing pretty good — the focus on recovery and that the coaching staff have here is really helping me not get run down at all.
“This is my first NRL pre-season too,” he said. “It’s much tougher than the 20’s.
"That’s probably partly why I was so nervous coming here too. It’s a change.
“I wasn’t used to it when I first started, especially the hours that we’re training and that kind of thing, but I’m getting used to it now. The coaching staff have really helped.”
One of three outside backs recruited to the Club in the off-season alongside Justin Hunt and Jordan Rankin, Addo-Carr said the duo’s experience of training in a first-grade set-up had really helped him adjust, and given him plenty of big goals for 2016.
“It’s really helpful having those guys and their support around me,” he enthused.
"They’re always really helpful during training with their talk and that, and they’re proof to me that I can make that step up from the under-20’s to first-grade like they did.
“I know I’ve got to be better at all those little one-percenters too.
“You know, you train alongside guys like Tim Simona and Jordan Rankin and that and you see how good their hands are and what they can do with the ball, as well as being fit, you can see that there’s still lots for more to improve on as a footballer.
“I think that’s what I need to work on and really focus on over the pre-season.”
“I’d love to start of the year in the Nines too,” he laughed. “I’ve watched it the last two years and I haven’t been able to sit still watching it so I’d love to do at it if it’s possible.
“But you know, at the end of the day I’m happy with whatever the coaching staff want.
“I just want to be fit and ready to go for the start of the year and get to put on the Wests Tigers colours for the first time. I'm really looking forward to that.
“It doesn’t matter what level or game it’s in, I just can’t wait to get stuck in.”