WHEN Dave Petersen left Hull KR at the end of 2012 to take up a one-year contract with Queensland Cup outfit Mackay Cutters, it was quite some leap of faith.
Petersen had made four Super League appearances for the Robins, scoring one try, and had also impressed for Workington on dual registration.
But the Rovers academy graduate opted to try his luck on the either side of the world with the Cutters, a semi-professional team and a feeder club for the North Queensland Cowboys.
"I have absolutely loved it out here, it's been a great lifestyle change," said the 22-year-old loose forward, who will join the Bulls on a one-year deal next season.
"I have learnt a lot and I feel like I have found myself as a person and in my rugby too.
"Mackay is up in the tropics and is pretty small in comparison to other rugby league towns but it's a heartland here.
"The change was good for me and the opportunity was too good to miss.
"I wanted to go and play in Australia and being 20 I felt I had nothing to lose.
"I thought I would come out here and play for a couple of years and luckily I have got the opportunity to come back and play for Bradford.
"It's good that more young English players are coming out to Australia and I'd advise any young kid to give it a shot."
The Cutters beat Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup Grand Final last season and Petersen and fiance Becky Robinson chose to stay down under for another year.
The pair moved to Australia together and both have jobs in Queensland to supplement Petersen's wage from the Cutters.
Petersen, whose Hull accent is tinged with an Aussie twang, explained: "I've worked in landscaping, labouring and also worked in a steel factory for the mines, which was pretty interesting.
"I guess I've learnt quite a bit and picked up a few handy jobs, although no actual trade as such.
"We train three nights a week at the Cutters, four including a physio night, so you have your general two days of gym and training and Friday is the game run.
"But being part-time means I have to work and Becky has been doing childcare; she's a supervisor for a police youth centre.
"She gave up a really good job in midwifery to come out here with me, which was a big decision.
"Becky doesn't really want to leave this place, definitely not, but she follows me in my career and my choices, which is good.
"We've been together quite a while now and have had some great holidays during our time out here."
Petersen and his girlfriend plan to move to a "small village somewhere between Leeds and Bradford" ahead of his move to the Bulls later this year.
He is ready to establish himself in Jimmy Lowes' side and could effectively replace James Donaldson as the regular loose forward.
Petersen said: "I feel I have definitely improved as a player this year. I was still finding my feet last year, which is why I decided to do the second year.
"I've been pretty confident this season. I've changed positions at times and we're getting a lot of NRL players back too, which varies your role in the team.
"I've been coming off the bench too, so it has been a change in my career personally – but it has definitely helped me a lot.
"I'm going to focus on playing mainly loose forward for Bradford. I feel that's my best role and where I can put in a lot of hard work."
Petersen has spoken to Lowes about next season and added: "Jimmy explained why he wanted me as a player and what they're looking at doing, which is obviously getting back into Super League and progressing.
"I got a really good vibe from him and that helped me decide to come to Bradford.
"I grew up in Hull, so I didn't really follow the Bulls as a kid, but you always heard Jimmy's name in and around the big games.
"He has got a lot of passion for the club and that's great. I miss the passion from the fans and I believe Bradford have a good following.
"The Cutters maybe get 1,000 or 2,000 but some of the Brisbane teams get a lot more, like the Easts Tigers. The fanbase is definitely one thing you do miss about playing in England.
"Bradford are a great club and we'll hopefully be strong enough to get straight back up.
"Super League is the highest level I've played at and I want to get back to that. That's the big challenge and that's what I'm striving for."