No looking back - Australian Rugby league News
Backglobalrugbyleague - Fri, 21 Mar 2008 07:59:00 GMT
Hull Kingston Rovers’ centre Jake Webster could not have asked for a better start into Super League life, writes Richard English.
After scoring 34 points in six games for the Robins and helping them to three wins, the talented Kiwi is on a roll, the sort that made him famous down under at the Melbourne Storm.
The former NRL star made a big change at the end of last season when he shifted away from the sunny sights of the Gold Coast in Australia to the busy industrial surrounds of Hull on Humberside.
But there is no homesickness or any other negative side effects so far.
“Coming from 30-40 degree heat and sunshine and golden beaches to Hull, it’s a bit of a dramatic change, but it’s going really well so far, the cold weather isn’t really affecting me; you can warm up pretty easy.”
On game day however Jake becomes totally focussed on the challenge ahead of him:
“I suppose once you get on that field you forget about the cold, forget about the wind, forget about the crowd, and just get on with the job, and so far so good.”
The 24 year old has his sights firmly set on playing well at centre for Hull KR and forcing his way into Stephen Kearney’s New Zealand World Cup plans down under
later this year.
“To get back in that New Zealand side is a big goal of mine and the only way to do that is to be playing well week in week out here [at Hull KR] and I suppose give Steve Kearney no option but to put me in the side.”
As one of the top try-scorers in the English Super League this season, fans back home could ask with just cause as to why Jake ended a three-year deal with the Gold Coast Titans after only 1 season?
Other than a lucrative three years contract offered to Jake, his main attraction to Hull KR was coach Justin Morgan giving him the centre spot.
“Justin Morgan threw out the opportunity and I jumped at it, he said he’d give me the centre spot and I said well I want to make myself an established centre and this was the best way to do it.”
Webster only spent one year with the NRL’s newest franchise, before previously enjoying a run from 2002-2006 with the Storm.
Jake still holds a special place for Melbourne in his heart.
“I’ve got great memories there, all the boys are great, the coaching staff are great, I haven’t got anything bad to say about Melbourne.
And it's almost certain his former Victorian teammates feel the same way about Jake after he strolled over the the line 15 times in the build-up to the Storm's appearance in the 2006 Grand Final.
But a return to the Storm at some point seems pretty remote for Jake.
“Going back there, that’s probably a bit out of the picture at the moment. I’ve got three years here [at Hull KR] which I’m really looking forward to; at least three years so I’ll see how I go and how the body holds up.
“To go back there and play, I don’t really see that in the future but the boys are fantastic so I might go back there to see them but that’s about it.”
Hull KR are enjoying a second successive year in Super League, the highlight so far being a win over Challenge Cup holders St. Helens at Craven Park.
Coach Justin Morgan has brought in valuable assets for this campaign, including Jake in the centres, back rower and 2007 NRL Premiership winner Clint Newton, and former Hull FC Challenge Cup winners Sean Briscoe and Paul Cooke to name but four.
Webster, the Kiwi international is excited about what the club can achieve this year.
“With the team that Justin has put together we’ve got a great chance to contend with the best of them, which we’ve proven at the moment in the first few games.
“The ultimate goal at the end of the year is to be in the mix in those playoffs just like every team I suppose and once we get there we’ll re-assess. If we get there we’ll reassess what our goals are then and we’ll go on from there.”
On a less serious note, the big centre was quick to dismiss any rumours of carrying the nickname, “biscuit man,” admitting to hearing it once before, but preferring to be addressed as Webby.
Comedy and jokes is a good tool used for breaking the ice and welcoming in a new face. Jake has grown fond to the banter at his new club, saying in particular: “I’m quite fond of Scotty Murrell’s jokes, he’s keeping everyone with a smile on there face 24/7 even on and off the field, he’s a pretty good joker and a good bloke as well.” - Read More, Here