Arona happy to help Wakefield rebuild

Tinirau Arona is ready to roll up his sleeves and help transform Wakefield after a difficult 2015 season for the club.

The Wildcats were almost relegated to the Championship but shrugged off several off-field problems and player departures to dramatically beat Bradford in the Million Pound game.

Arona is one of a number of new signings for Wakefield, with the forward joining from NRL side Cronulla.

The Wildcats have made some promising acquisitions under coach Brian Smith and recently defeated Leeds in a Boxing Day friendly.

Arona said he has helped teams rebuild before, spending three seasons with the Roosters from 2011 to 2013 and 2014 to 2015 with the Sharks.

The Roosters were grand finalists in 2010, 11th place the following year before finishing 13th in 2012 and then winning the grand final in 2013.

Cronulla were wooden-spooners in 2014 and hit by the ASADA controversy, before finishing a respectable sixth and knocking South Sydney out of the semi-finals this year.

“I sort of attract those teams that are sort of not doing too well and then the next year they turn the club around,” Arona said.

“The same thing happened at the Roosters when I first went there and Brian Smith started.

“I remember the year I went they struggled and soon after they made the grand final.

“Also when I went to the Sharks they didn’t do too well the first year I was there, and then last season they made the top six, which was a big achievement.

“Coming over to Wakefield I’ve sort of felt that I’ve got the same feeling that hopefully we can turn this club around and get back that positive vibe.

“I guess we’re just going to let our game speak for us once the season comes around. I’m looking forward to it.”

Wakefield finished bottom of the table in the regular Super League season in 2015 but Arona said the club hasn’t set a firm goal for the new campaign.

“From what I’ve heard from last year they didn’t do too well,” he said.

“I thought it was a really good opportunity for me and Anthony [Tupou] to try and come over and help this club do a lot better than last year.

“We haven’t really spoken about goals at this point, we’ve just been working on getting our core trademarks and fundamentals down.

“We’re just trying to work hard as a team and get our own game right and what we need to work on.

“As the games come around we’ll start thinking long-term.”

Arona impressed off the bench in the Wildcats’ eight-point friendly win over the Rhinos.

The 26-year old set up Wakefield’s first try with an offload and was one of the team’s stronger performers.

Arona can play at loose forward, prop and in the second-row and has made 70 career appearances in the NRL.

The Cook Islands international, who stands 180cm tall and weighs in at 105kg, said featuring anywhere in the middle of the field is the best for him.

“I’m not the biggest forward running around but I can hold my own in the middle,” Arona admitted.

“I feel more comfortable playing in the middle where we just do all the work and let the backs get all the glory, scoring all the tries.

“We just keep working on our craft, doing all the tackling and all the hard yards and dirty work, while all the wingers and centres score all the tries.

“That’s my job at this stage.”

Arona played in the UK as a junior with the Penrith Panthers in 2007 and on British soil for the Cook Islands in the 2013 World Cup.

“So I sort of knew what to expect and it just took me a couple of weeks to get my head around things,” he said.

“My family is all settled in pretty much now.

“Probably missing the sun to be honest but apart from that it’s working out really well.”

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