Albert Vete believes Super League hasn’t seen the best of him yet, insisting his time at Hull KR does not represent a fair reflection of what the prop forward is capable of.
Vete, 30, made the move to England with the Robins ahead of the 2021 season from Melbourne Storm. He featured across two seasons at Craven Park, making 29 Super League appearances.
However, the Tonga international admits to a bumpy stint at Hull KR, something he is looking to improve upon following his move to Castleford under Radford.
He joins the Mend-A-Hose Jungle side on a two-year deal, revealing that boss Radford had previously shown interest in signing him during his time in the NRL.
“I really loved the club and the people there,” Vete said on his time at Hull KR. “I loved playing for them and the fans.
“Personally, I just feel like I didn’t show a fair reflection of my footy there. That’s probably something that will hang over my head, not being able to give my all there.
“That’s the sort of person I am, when I’m at a club or doing something, I like to give it 100%. In that sense, I would have liked to have been on the field a bit more but it is what it is.
“I feel like I showed a few glimpses of it last year with some performances but I’m hoping to build on that and see where Radders takes my game to the next level.”
Albert Vete on pre-season and previous Radford links
Castleford open their 2023 campaign with a trip to Hull FC on Sunday, with Vete admitting to a tough first pre-season with his new club.
“It’s been a bit of a different pre-season,” Vete said on his time at Castleford so far. “I’m new to the club and new coaching staff and getting used to the values they hold and what they’re looking for from me.
“Radders had some time in Samoa, but he’s obviously back now and driving the standards. Especially for myself, he’s been riding me a bit to get in the best shape possible.
“The big one for me is to stay available and on the field. At Hull KR, I couldn’t catch a break sometimes. I think that was a reflection of my time there.”
“There’s a bit of history before”
Vete also reveals that he heard rumours that Radford was interested in signing him during his time with the New Zealand Warriors.
The Auckland-born prop made his professional debut for the NRL side in 2015, and went on to make close to 50 appearances before moving to Melbourne.
“There’s a bit of history before,” Vete said on Radford. “I think he had his eye on me when I was at the Warriors and he was coaching Hull FC.
“Obviously he likes his big forwards. He hadn’t approached me, but I heard some whispers and some chat whether I wanted to come to Super League at that time.
“But that was my first year in the first grade with the Warriors, so I wanted to stay. But I felt the time was right for me to come over to the UK and I’m enjoying my time so far and looking forward to seeing Radders bring the best out of my footy.
“Being a forward himself, hopefully he’ll be able to help me out.”
“There’s a lot of competition in the squad” – Albert Vete
The Tigers have confirmed a strong 37-man squad for the upcoming campaign, although Danny Richardson is set to be sidelined for the season.
Having received shirt number 19 for his debut year with Castleford, Vete knows he has strong competition to make the 17 every week under Radford.
He continued: “There’s no surprises that the forward pack we’ve got, there’s a lot of depth and size. That’s what Radders likes and I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s a lot of competition in the squad at the moment, especially in the middle. I think that’s good for the club and for me, so I don’t get complacent about where I’m at.
“I know I’ve got to put my head down and work hard. The last three weeks have been really intense and that’s probably due to the competition.
“Everyone has been healthy over the off-season too, so we’ve been able to get a lot of good training sessions in.”
Albert Vete eyeing up play-offs
And looking ahead to the season, a play-off spot is on Vete’s mind, having enjoyed the feat with Hull KR in 2021, reaching the semi-finals under then-boss Tony Smith.
“I got a glimpse of playing finals at Hull KR, playing Warrington,” Vete said.
“I really enjoyed the intensity and vibe of that final series. That’s something I want to be a part of. I want to be playing in those big games, so that’s the goal for me.
“Whatever I can contribute to the team to ensure that, we want to be playing the best footy as we can and myself individually.”