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Bradford Bulls prop Antonio Kaufusi has nothing to prove after surprise loan move from Huddersfield Giants
When Antonio Kaufusi swapped a team of perennial strugglers for the league leaders at the end of last season, he appeared to have made a dream move.
The vastly-experienced prop left relegation-doomed London Broncos and joined the ambitious Huddersfield Giants on a two-year deal.
He has featured regularly for Paul Anderson’s side, playing in virtually every game, yet was sent out to Bradford on a month’s loan last week.
Tonga-born Kaufusi, who boasts an impressive pedigree which includes an NRL career with Melbourne Storm, North Queensland Cowboys and Newcastle Knights, not to mention representative honours with Australia, Tonga, Queensland and the Exiles, admits it was not what he had in mind.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed but that’s how things have worked out and I’m not going to sit around and kick stones,” said the 29-year-old.
“Yes, I signed for Huddersfield and want to play for them.
“A spanner has been thrown in the works but I’ll go with the flow and crack on.
“I’ve been asked ‘have I got a point to prove?’
“I haven’t got a point to prove to anyone and I’ll say that right now.
“The only person I need to prove a point to is myself.
“If I’m happy, then I’ll play my best footie because coming to the Bulls because is a great opportunity for me so I’ll just rip in.”
That is exactly what Kaufusi did on his debut during last weekend’s stirring 34-28 home win over Warrington.
During two barnstorming shifts either side of half-time, he did not take a backward step.
“I only found out about the move last Friday and it was a little bit of a surprise but the boys made me feel really welcome,” explained Kaufusi.
“I’ve fitted in really well and was just glad to get the result for the team.
“I was blowing a fair bit but I was happy with the way Franny wanted me to play the two stints in both halves.
“It was good how it worked out and for me it’s just about enjoying my rugby.
“If I’m enjoying my footie then I play good footie.
“I looked around at the end of the game and everyone was elated, which was great.
“We had a few young players who stepped up to the plate really well and I was full of admiration for them.”
Kaufusi’s arrival at Bradford has seen him reunited with fellow prop Manase Manuokafoa, who he played with at the Cowboys and for Tonga at the 2008 World Cup.
Kaufusi said: “I know Nas well and we’re good mates. When everything was happening, he was calling me up and saying ‘we need you to come and play for the Bulls’.
“Hopefully we can play together this weekend.
“Initially it’s a one-month loan but I don’t know what will happen after that because this is the first time I’ve been out on loan.”
Unfortunately, Kaufusi is not eligible to face his parent club in next Sunday’s Magic Weekend clash at the Etihad Stadium.
“I’m here with the Bulls and I class myself as a Bulls player, so I guess I’ll be going to Magic with these boys,” said Kaufusi.
“Who will I be cheering for? It’ll be a hard one, I’ll just stay out of it!”
Kaufusi’s main focus is on helping his new side to a third straight win against St Helens tomorrow.
“We need to play better this week and it’s going to be tough,” he said.
“But I think everyone wrote off the Bulls last week and we found a way. Hopefully we can do the same again.”
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