‘I love him’: Toby King makes Rodrick Tai admission as Warrington Wolves pair prepare for Wembley

Ben Olawumi
Toby King, Rodrick Tai

Warrington Wolves centres Toby King (main image) & Rodrick Tai (right)

Warrington Wolves ace Toby King has sung the praises of Papua New Guinean centre partner Rodrick Tai as the pair prepare to line up alongside one another at Wembley.

Both were new faces to the Wire squad this year, King returning to the club following his season-long loan at Wigan Warriors – who they will face in the Challenge Cup final on Saturday – and Tai a new signing, joining from PNG Hunters.

The Mount Hagen native only returned to the Hunters’ setup following an eight-week stint with the Dolphins, handed a train and trial deal by the NRL outfit which didn’t yield any permanent deal.

But having starred in the Queensland Cup, Tai earned his move to Super League, penning a one-year deal at Warrington with the option of a further year’s extension in the club’s favour.

‘I love him… he brings a lot to this team’

Despite having only received a 12-month deal, the centre opted to bring his family over, and it took a while to settle, not debuting for the Wolves until the end of March.

But since having made a try-scoring first appearance in the British game, helping Warrington begin their journey to this weekend’s Challenge Cup final back in the Sixth Round against London Broncos, he hasn’t looked back.

The six-time Kumuls international now has seven Wolves appearances on his CV, and his eighth will come on Saturday under the Wembley arch.

Speaking on Thursday morning prior to the side’s departure for the capital, centre partner King had nothing but good things to say on Tai.

King told LoveRugbyLeague: “I love him. It’s not just the stuff he does on the field, but off it, because he’s such a good person.

“He’s brilliant, and I think he’s done it so tough coming all the way over to the other side of the world, bringing his family over.

“It’s hard for him, but I think the boys all get around him, and I’m so excited for him now that he’s getting to play regularly in the first team.

“He’s just a good player, it’s his strength and coming out of yardage, his carries are really strong. He’s fast and he’s good defensively, so he brings a lot to this team.”

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‘It took him a while to get going, but now he’s in there, he’s making it his own’

Tai’s other Warrington try to date also came in the Challenge Cup, crossing in last month’s 46-10 semi-final victory against Huddersfield Giants to help book the club a first Wembley trip in five years.

The 25-year-old has quickly become a fans’ favourite, and is now one of the first names on Sam Burgess’ teamsheet, one of the few more experienced heads selected last weekend against Wigan in Super League.

King continued: “It took him a while to get going, as it does with many players, and I don’t think he necessarily was able to get a good run of games nearer the start of the season.

“But now he’s in there, I think he’s just making it (the centre spot) his own, and that just shows what Sam’s doing in terms of strengthening all positions.

“There’s probably five players that could be well within their right to be fighting for a centre spot, and that puts people like me and Rod on our toes.”

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