Kevin Naiqama admits he never thought he would be back in NRL

Drew Darbyshire
Kevin Naiqama Sydney Roosters

Photo: Sydney Roosters

Sydney Roosters centre Kevin Naiqama admitted he never thought he would return to the NRL after leaving for St Helens at the end of the 2018 season.

The 33-year-old was a fan’s favourite at Super League giants St Helens, winning three Grand Finals with the club in as many seasons as well as a Challenge Cup.

Naiqama announced his decision to leave Saints at the end of last season so he could return home to Australia to be closer to his family following the arrival of his new born baby.

Upon returning home the Fiji captain received a one-year contract offer from NRL side Sydney Roosters, an opportunity he took with both hands.

On being back in the NRL, Naiqama told Roosters TV: “It feels good. The big reason for me and my wife coming back was because of our new born baby. We wanted to be closer to our family.

“There’s a great opportunity with the Roosters that I got offered a role to come here. I’m really enjoying it.

“To be under a great coach in Trent Robinson, the coaches he has with him and also the players… I’m really enjoying it.”

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Kevin Naiqama relishing NRL return

Naiqama had scored 51 tries in 113 NRL appearances for Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers and Wests Tigers before his move to Super League.

But the versatile back never envisaged returning to play at the highest level Down Under.

“To be honest, no I didn’t,” Naiqama said when asked if he thought he’d ever be back in the NRL.

“I’m 33 now and with that age now and how fast the game is developing, I didn’t think there’d be an opportunity for me to come back, especially with my age.

“The club has shown faith in me that there is still some potential there, so I’m very grateful. It is a big blessing for me and my family to come back and continue what I love doing.”

Naiqama will be hoping to play in his third World Cup for Fiji this autumn. The tournament will be hosted in England.

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