“How Good Is This” – Brad Takairangi

04
Jan
Category: On The Pitch

“How Good Is This” – Brad Takairangi

New signing, Brad Takairangi spoke to Hull Daily Mail’s, James O’Brien:

One of the most experienced coaches in Super League, Tony Smith knew Hull KR had to nail their off-season recruitment after a dismal 2020 campaign.

Smith slipped into the role of salesman after KR’s season ended abruptly at the start of November and had a crucial hand in luring Albert Vete, Korbin Sims and Brad Takairangi to Super League.

The Rovers head coach spends hours on the phone getting to know potential signings and that personal touch has paid dividends.

Like Vete and Sims before him, Takairangi was convinced by Smith to make the move to Craven Park, in his case ignoring interest from NRL clubs following his release by Parramatta Eels at the end of the season.

“There was interest but once I spoke to Tony I thought, ‘How good is this?’,” Takairangi told Hull Live.

“He has a good vision and loves what I offer as a player.

“The club have recruited pretty well, bringing in a couple of big middles and getting Ryan Hall as well to add to the likes of Kane Linnett and Skids (Shaun Kenny-Dowall).

“I thought Tony was building a really good team and wanted to be a part of that.

“I honestly feel like I’ve got a lot to offer and could have had a lot to offer in the NRL still but it was just the fact the process was taking a long time.

“Then Tony came in and showed how keen he was to get me over there. That made my mind up for me, having someone who is willing to back me and likes what he saw from me.

“It’s always good to feel loved and straight away when I spoke to Tony I felt that and wanted to come over to play for him.”

Takairangi has played under a Smith before, with Tony’s brother Brian handing him his first-grade debut for Sydney Roosters in 2010.

Kenny-Dowall, Linnett and Mose Masoe all played in that Roosters team, while Takairangi also knows Adam Quinlan from their time together at the Eels.

Those connections certainly helped as Takairangi weighed up whether to make the switch to Super League.

“Skids was on the phone to me straight away, getting into my ear about coming over and trying to get me over,” he said.

“I’ve been pretty good mates with Skids for a long time, ever since the Roosters days.

“It’s good to have a few boys I already know there. I’m just looking forward to getting over there and getting stuck in.”

Takairangi is playing the waiting game as his visa gets processed, with the 31-year-old preparing to come over to England with his partner and three children.

KR fans are eagerly anticipating the arrival of Takairangi, a player who sparks excitement every time he gets his hands on the ball.

His attributes appear perfectly suited to Super League but he does not want to run before he can walk.

“Players that I’ve played with before that are in Super League now have said a similar thing but to be honest I haven’t watched much of Super League,” said Takairangi.

“We don’t get too much of it over here and when we do it’s early in the mornings.

“It’ll be good to get over there, watch a lot of clips on how different teams play and how the footy is played.

“It’s been a long time over here in the NRL and it will be good to see what the differences are for myself.”

Supporters have been debating where Takairangi should slot into Smith’s team, with some hoping he plays in the centres and others viewing him as more of a back-rower.

At 6ft 4in and almost 110kg with the skills of a half-back, Takairangi will keep Super League defences guessing next year.

“That’s just the way I was brought up,” he said as he discussed his playing style.

“I played in the halves growing up so that’s where all my ball skills and that kind of stuff comes from.

“When I first went to the Roosters that’s when I was transformed into a back-rower by Brian Smith. I learnt to play back row there and went from there to the centres, two similar roles these days.

“It was good that I made a home at centre for the last seven years.

“But it doesn’t really matter where I play. I just love playing footy.”

After starting for Parramatta in their play-off semi-final defeat to South Sydney Rabbitohs in October, joining Super League’s bottom club could be considered a major step down.

But Takairangi, who hopes to play in his third World Cup next year after helping the Cook Islands qualify in 2019, is as ambitious as ever.

Backed by KR’s loyal fans, Takairangi is excited about what 2021 could bring.

“I’ve received a lot of love from the Hull KR fans already and I haven’t even got over there yet!” he said.

“I’ve seen a couple of clips of the Hull KR fans chanting and cheering the boys on and it’s something that’s exciting to be a part of.

“It’s good to have fans that really love their footy. I believe they’re very similar to Parra – very loyal, passionate fans that want success.

That’s what I’m coming over for. I’m coming over to win games for our team and do everything I have to do to get the W for us.

“I’m not too sure what the roster has been like in previous years but we’ve got quality all over the park and if we stay healthy there’s no excuse why we shouldn’t be winning games.

“I obviously know Kane, Skids and Quinny, then there’s (Matt) Parcell who is a real exciting talent and the English boys as well.

“It’s just a case of getting to know each other professionally but also on an intimate level where you get an instant relationship and respect for each other straight away.

“If we do that and Tony can get us playing for each other, I reckon anything could happen next year.”

Back To Latest News +