Warrington Wolves return ‘fell through’ for Thomas Mikaele as Samoan powerhouse takes up North Queensland Cowboys opportunity

Drew Darbyshire
Thomas Mikaele Warrington Wolves Alamy

Thomas Mikaele waves to the Warrington fans after their win at Hull in August - Alamy

Thomas Mikaele thought he was set for a return to Warrington Wolves for 2024 before saying the move ‘fell through’, with the Samoan powerhouse subsequently taking up an opportunity with North Queensland Cowboys.

The Samoan powerhouse enjoyed two spells with the Wire, making 25 appearances over the last two seasons whilst becoming a fan favourite on the terraces at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Warrington announced back in September that Mikaele would depart at the end of the 2023 campaign to return to Australia.

However, in a recent press conference published on the Cowboys’ club website following his arrival at the NRL club, Mikaele revealed that he initially thought he would be moving back to the Wire at one stage before taking his opportunity with the Cowboys.

When asked by reporters what prompted his decision to join the Cowboys after the switch came out of the blue, Mikaele said: “It was a bit of a weird one – I was waiting around – I thought I was going to head back to the Super League and head back to Warrington but it fell through and sort of every other week was ‘I’m going to end up here’ so me and my family thought we were going to end up ‘there’ at this place, and the opportunity came up to come up here (to the Cowboys) and me and my family wanted to stay in Queensland – being Queenslanders ourselves – and we’re happy to come up here, so it’s been a funny one.”

Thomas Mikaele ‘found the love for the game’ again whilst in Super League with Warrington Wolves

Mikaele made an immediate impact upon his arrival at the Wolves midway through 2022, and was one of the form front-rowers in Super League before he returned to the NRL with Gold Coast Titans during the early stages of 2023, before coming back to Warrington a couple of months down the line.

Asked what lessons he learned from his time in Super League with Warrington, Mikaele replied: “I pretty much learned everything, probably how to be a professional and pretty much everything from top to bottom I guess.

“It sounds pretty cliche but I think in my first few years playing and getting a lot of games under my belt when I was young, I sort of got in the mindset of ‘yeah, I’m playing first-grade’ and then I slowly didn’t enjoy it so for me, I was just going over there to find my enjoyment again and enjoy playing and learn the game and finding the love for the game.”

Mikaele has signed a development contract with the Cowboys, with a view to earning a spot in Todd Payten’s top 30 NRL squad sooner rather than later.

“I’ve got a lot of experience now, lots of ups and downs in my career so far but I signed a development with the intent of heading into the top 30 as soon as possible so that’s my short-term goal and that’s what I’m striving towards,” he added.

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