Tim Lafai believes he still has more to offer in 2023 despite a dream debut season in Super League last season with Salford.
The 31-year-old had been working as a bricklayer in Australia following his release from Canterbury Bulldogs in 2020, and was given the chance to reignite his career by Salford in 2022.
The Samoa international took that opportunity with both hands, named in the Super League Dream Team alongside team-mates Ken Sio and Brodie Croft at the end of the year.
The centre scored six tries and assisted a further 14, with 49 offloads for the Red Devils in 2022.
Despite his impressive season, Lafai insists he has more to offer with extra motivation from his family following his new three-year deal.
Tim Lafai: You can never be satisfied
He told Love Rugby League: “After the whole World Cup tournament, I gave myself two weeks off to do nothing. I managed to sit and reflect on the year I’ve had. I’m stoked with the season that I’ve had and it was a great season but I know I can still go better and do better.
“You can never be satisfied. It’s what separates players who are great from good.
“I want to use that as motivation this season, to put my best foot forward for the team and the club and do all I can on and off the field so I can turn up to games with my best quality and give everything I’ve got.
“Any team who is in Super League, they always aim to get to the Grand Final. I think for us, it’s about improving from last year and going a game better which is the Grand Final.
“We’ve got to knuckle down and we know we’ve got a target on our backs now. All the teams in Super League will come out firing. We’ve got to make sure we’re doing our homework and be switched on and focussed each week.”
Tim Lafai on family motivation
Lafai made the move to England with his family, and was rewarded with a new three-year deal with Salford during the off-season which will see him turn 34 years old.
The former Canterbury and St George centre admits the new contract was a reward for his family, who made the sacrifice to leave their life in Australia for him to pursue his career.
“We all came over together and took the gamble on that one-year and obviously it’s paid off,” Lafai said.
“It’s a bit of a reward for my wife and kids who sacrificed leaving their family and friends back in Australia for me to come over here to pursue my career.
“It was definitely hard for all of us. We of course miss our family back in Australia. But I want to use that to give them an even better season and reward their sacrifice.
“There was a lot of tossing and turning for my wife and I to sign the three-year extension. We’re just planning on going home every year after the season which will break it up and a bit and keep us happy.”
“I still have to work hard and earn that spot”
Lafai has received shirt number four once again in 2023 under Paul Rowley, but believes he still has to work hard to secure a centre spot each week during the season.
“For myself, that spot is not cemented in the centres,” he said.
“I still have to work hard and earn that spot. Every time I go into a new season, I always have that mentality that there’s going to be competition and players going after a spot and I’m all for it.
“I love a bit of competition.”