FRANK-Paul Nuuausala’s retirement didn’t last too long.
After 186 NRL appearances with the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders, as well as 15 Tests for New Zealand, the 31-year-old announced he was hanging up his boots at the end of 2018.
He even completed a lap of honour with the Bondi-based club at the weekend.
But, in a tremendous coup for Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League, Nuuausala will link up with the Singleton Greyhounds for the next two seasons.
And, local president Jye Bayley can’t stop grinning from ear-to-ear.
“It’s massive for us,” he said.
“I’ve encountered a few NRL guys [about signing] before, however you don’t know if they’re serious or not.
“As soon as I met Frank-Paul, I realised he was the real deal.
“He’s a family guy – and, already, loyal to the Greyhounds.
“As a fairly new coach, I’m sure we’ll be able to assist each other, as well as the club, especially with the experience he boasts.
“He’ll definitely fit in with our culture here at Singleton.”
The 184cm and 109kg wrecking ball was also full of praise for Bayley.
“He’s been great; and secured me a job in the mines, which I’m extremely thankful for,” Nuuausala said.
“So, I said, I’d help out with the Greyhounds.
“I found Jye to be truthful and honest – that impressed me.
“Plus, it’s a chance to put something back in the game.
“When I returned to the Roosters this year, I sort of mentored the younger guys.
“I see myself fulfilling a similar role at Singleton.”
Nuuausala has already enjoyed a taste of Group 21, after watching his new team mates in action against the Muswellbrook Rams in the recent minor semi-final at Olympic Park.
However, he’s not getting ahead of himself – or making outrageous predictions.
“It’s a different level [up here], so I need to be patient,” he said.
“I’m hoping to bring as much knowledge as I can to the club.
“I realise it’s country footy – and they’re mates who look after their own.
“But, more resources are needed in the bush to grow the game.
“In the meantime, I’m just looking forward to the challenge.
“Jye and the Greyhounds have been wonderful so far.”
In an impressive career spanning more than a decade, Nuuausala pinpointed a number of highlights.
“I’ll never forget my debut,” he said.
“It was, in 2007, for the Roosters in their traditional Anzac Day clash with St George-Illawarra.
“We became the first NRL club to win 1000 matches on that day, too.
“I’ve also treasured representing my country, winning the 2013 premiership with the Roosters and the 2016 Super League title with the Wigan Warriors.
“Despite all of those achievements, one person has been very supportive during the journey – my wife Brodee.
“I owe a lot to her.
“She made many sacrifices for me to live my dream.
“I can’t thank her enough.
“Brodee and our son Kobee-John mean the world to me.”