We sat down with new recruit Russell Packer — as with all players — and asked him about the year that was, his return to Test football and the year that lies ahead.
Specifically, we asked him about teamwork and leadership, with Ivan Cleary speaking previously about the 28-year-old and what he brings on and off the field as a leader.
Packer’s words are below — unedited and unchanged.
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“I’m very excited to be here and feel like we’ve got a mix in the squad. We’ve got a lot of experience and a lot of hungry young dudes and a lot of hungry old guys too so hopefully we push each other to be better and those performances show through when we play. I’m happy to be here and be part of something that is going to build in to something that is consistently good — that is the plan and what we’re working towards.
You just gotta lead by example on and off the field. I don’t think that many people think they want to lead, they just either are or they aren’t. I just try and do everything I can to go the hardest I can and that’s it — just keep putting in that effort and people around you will do the same and keep pushing each other to be better. That’s what leadership is — pushing yourself to be better and pushing others around you. If they believe in what you’re up to, they’ll follow you; if they don’t, they won’t. It’s as simple as that.
Ivan mentions it a lot that there’s really good competition in the team and that’s good. You need people pushing each other to be better, and that’s what a competitive squad does. If everyone is fit and strong, our levels will all be raised by each other’s and that’s pretty much what you want to be a part of.
When everyone is pushing each other physically and doing football stuff better too, it’s a great environment to be in because you really grow. I’ve still got a bit to do to catch up because of the World Cup break, but I’ll just go as hard as I can. I’m really excited to be around this group of boys.
There’s a lot of movement, so we’re all a part of the rebuild. I guess every squad in the NRL is a new squad regardless of how long people have been involved but probably more so this year with the recruits that have come in here, myself included. I think it’s a good opportunity for us to build something together and that’s the exciting thing. We want to cultivate that good culture here and put in the hard work at training, work hard for each other when we play and let the results fall how they will. I want to win. I want to win more than I lose, but the key is to be consistently good and that will happen.
It’s a new opportunity for me, so first and foremost, I’ve got to build up relationships with all the boys here and earn their trust. I’m just looking to do my thing when I play — put in as much effort as I can and I think everyone will be able to see how hard I’m trying.
That’s all I can ask for myself, not just in footy but in everything across the board.
Hopefully all of our fans can see a team that’s trying their best in every opportunity that they get and works hard for each other no matter the circumstances. I think they’ll see individuals that are willing to push themselves for the cause of the team and I think that blueprint will translate in to results. We want to be a team that plays like a team and plays for each other, and we’ve got an opportunity to make that happen.”