Sia Soliola has volunteered to help Community Saints whilst he begins his long recovery from injury.
The New Zealand international ruptured his patella tendon last month and is set to miss the rest of the season as he undergoes rehabilitation.
Sia will be heavily involved in day to day activities of Saints Community Development Foundation and will be meeting coaches, helping with the plethora of courses it runs and interacting with the 50,000 children the charity reaches each season.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Community Saints, it will keep me busy and it’s great life experience,” Sia said. “Rugby League is just part of the stuff the coaches deliver but it’s always good to see talented youngsters and also kids improving and enjoying their sport.
“It’s all good experience for me; I enjoy working with youngsters and particularly the cheeky ones who have an answer for everyone. I did heaps of stuff with the Roosters and we worked with some great kids in the community through their schemes.”
Sia had an operation to repair the damage to his knee following the training ground accident and although he is on crutches, he will be on hand to offer as much support to the 25 Community Saints coaches.
“It’s still tough for me to get around so I will assist here and there with the coaches,” he continues. “In the coming months I hope to take more of an active role with Community Saints and support the coaches work across the area.
“The injury was pretty strange. I felt something and I thought somebody had kicked a ball at me or something, I was just looking round thinking ‘who did that?’ then it just felt totally numb.
“I think Leon [Pryce] was the closest person to me and he just heard a noise and thought my boot had snapped or something. It’s a long road ahead, but I’m working with the physios day-to-day and trying to stay positive.”
Gordon Pennington, Saints Community Development Foundation Manager, added: “Sia has great enthusiasm and it rubs off on people, particularly youngsters. He is working hard on his rehabilitation, but rather than waste his downtime he came to us with the idea of coaching Rugby League as a volunteer and we are grateful for his support.
“He has already worked with youngsters in our Playing for Success classrooms at the stadium and he will continue to work with our coaches in the community. Although his injury limits his involvement even his presence (at pictured community event) gave the young people a lift.
“He is still a young player and his strength of character through these testing times should be an example to any young person.”