Written by John Davidson
Photo by AAP Image Craig Golding
Sam Kasiano has claimed he was “over the NRL” after leaving Melbourne and signing for Catalans and has no regrets about the end of his NRL career.
Kasiano has joined the Super League club for the next three years after being forced out of the Storm because of salary cap issues. But the prop says the appeal of moving to France was strong and he knocked back an offer from St George Illawarra to stay in Australia.
“I was over the NRL I think, to be honest,” he said after landing in Perpignan.
‘It’s a new opportunity to come and play footy here under a great coach in Steve McNamara. There’s a great squad here and capable of doing great things, and I want to be a part of that.
“Salary cap stuff – that’s the reason I had to leave. I didn’t want to go to St George. I was ready to come here to France. When I heard the offer, me and my wife said lets go to France.
“I’ve got no regrets [about leaving the NRL]. I’ve just moved on. I feel good, I’m happy to be here. It’s a honour to join this great club.
“I spoke to Kenny Edwards, he was telling me about the club. And Krisnan Inu, it was all positive feedback and that made it easier for me.”
Kasiano could make his debut for Catalans this Saturday against Leeds Rhinos. After the Dragons won the Challenge Cup last year, the front-rower wants to help them challenge for the Super League title.
“It’s a big challenge,” he admitted.
“I’ve just got to try and do my best for the club. Give 110% in every game. The ultimate goal now is to try and win Super League. I want to be a part of that.”
Catalans coach Steve McNamara is excited to have Kasiano as part of his squad. The Auckland-born enforcer has represented both New Zealand and Samoa at Test level, and has 153 NRL appearances to his name with Canterbury and Melbourne.
“He’s an absolute game-changer,” McNamara said.
“He can do things other players cannot do. That’s what I want Sam to do. Some rampaging runs, he’s a very skillful man.
“I want to see him play with a smile on his face, like he did at the Bulldogs when he was at his very best, and his best with Samoa. It’s a competition in my opinion, which will suit his style down to the ground.
“I’ve coached against him. If you’ve got momentum in a game, he can continue that level. If you haven’t got momentum in a game, he can change a game by coming on to the field.
“There’s no many players in the competition in the world who can make an impact like that, and we’ve definitely got one in Sam.
“He’s one of the most skillful forwards you’ll see. His skills will suit Super League – without a doubt.”
Catalans have won three of their first six games this season and sit in eighth place on the table. McNamara is confident the capture of the 28-year-old can help make them contenders.
“We won the Challenge Cup last season, we all know that, it was a great achievement for us,” he said.
“But to achieve the ultimate – which is trying to compete for grand finals – we have to keep building. And I feel this is a top-end addition to this group.”