With plenty of experience in both, Huddersfield Giants ace Tui Lolohea doesn’t buy into the belief that an NRL pre-season is any harder than a Super League one, able to pick out very few differences between them.
Having come through the New Zealand Warriors‘ youth systems, Auckland-born Lolohea made over 70 appearances amongst Australia’s elite including his time at Wests Tigers.
The utility then made the move over to Super League ahead of the 2019 campaign with Leeds Rhinos, linking up with Salford Red Devils before the end of that first year and featuring in the Grand Final at Old Trafford against St Helens.
Joining Huddersfield ahead of 2022, the campaign just gone saw Lolohea surpass a century of appearances in the British game, also taking his Tonga appearance tally up to 17 in this autumn’s test series against England.
Huddersfield Giants star swats off NRL pre-season theories as 2024 Super League preparations are stepped up
Pre-season is now in full swing once again at the John Smith’s Stadium as Lolohea prepares for a third season as a Giant, with the 28-year-old speaking to Love Rugby League at Huddersfield’s media day earlier this month.
He said: “Pre-seasons are never easy, whether it’s in the NRL or here in Super League, they’re always tough and they’re all different.
“They’re all similar in different ways. You do pretty similar things in terms of your skill, your conditioning, all that stuff’s quite similar. Some coaches believe in different methods, but you usually stick to doing the same sort of thing.
“The difference here compared to the NRL pre-season is that here, we’re dealing with the cold, the snow and the ice. Over in Australia, when you’re in pre-season, it’s hot and just completely the opposite.
“We probably have a shorter pre-season here than what they get, obviously with them starting their season later than us. They probably get an extra month of pre-season, but that’s probably the only really different thing.
“There’s not too much in it. Obviously the game over there is bigger, and here, we’re obviously striving to be as good as we can to make the game as big as it can be.”
NRL recruits settling in well at Huddersfield, says Tonga ace Lolohea
Among the seven new recruits brought in by Huddersfield this off-season are a trio from the NRL.
Oldham-born youngster Thomas Deakin has been brought in from Sydney Roosters, forward Jack Murchie from Parramatta Eels and playmaker Adam Clune from Newcastle Knights.
Lolohea believes they – along with the rest of the new boys – already feel like part of the furniture, adding: “I think they’ve jumped straight into it.
“I was a bit late into pre-season because of playing in the internationals, but when I came into it, it seemed like everyone was bonding well, which is always a positive thing.
“The big test is what we can do out on the field together, and we’re not going to know that until the trials (pre-season games) come around. Until then, we’ll continue to build combinations and work hard in training.”