I HAVEN’T come all this way to fail.
That’s the message from Castleford Tigers’ Samoan international recruit Jesse Sene-Lefao.
The 27-year-old prop or second-rower, who was born in New Zealand and began his career with Manly Sea Eagles, has joined Tigers from NRL champions Cronulla Sharks.
And, after an eye-catching first performance in the Boxing Day demolition of Hull, he says he is determined to follow in the footsteps of long-term friend Junior Moors by making a big impression in Betfred Super League.
“That’s my goal,” Sene-Lefao said.
“I want to try and play the best I can for my team and my family.
“I didn’t travel 24 hours to play bad – I want to come here and make a statement.”
Sene-Lefao did not play in Cronulla’s Grand Final win over Melbourne Storm.
But he reckons being part of a winning culture will stand him and Tigers in good stead this year.
“To be part of history, the first team to win the comp, was pretty amazing,” he said.
“I feel like I have a lot of experience now and I need to put that into play.
“It would be good to take Cas to the title and collect a few trophies while I’m here and make some history over here too.”
Sene-Lefao found it hard to break into Cronulla’s winning side, playing only seven times in 2016.
That has given him more incentive to impress coach Daryl Powell and ensure he is in Tigers’ 17 – and preferably the starting side – every week.
“I am working hard in the off-season and hopefully all that pays off and I get a starting spot,” he added.
“I want to play the whole year, that’s my goal – and to play good footy.”
Homesickness has been a concern for some recent overseas signings in Super League, but having arrived in England in mid-November, Sene-Lefao has had no problems settling in.
“It has been good,” he said. “The club have been really supportive, getting me into a house and doing things for my kids, getting them into schools.
“My missus is starting to find new friends. Leaving home has been probably the most challenging thing, family means a lot to us, but I know God has got my back and I am pretty proud to be here and represent Cas.”
The transition has been made easier by a couple of familiar faces.
Sene-Lefao played for Samoa alongside Castleford full-back/stand-off Ben Roberts, who is a cousin of his wife.
He added: “Junior goes to the same church as we do back at home. He is a lot older than me and I have known him for years.
“It was good to know those two before I came over, it has made it easier.”
Sene-Lefao explained: “Before I signed Junior and Benny called me from here and said the club’s interested.
“They were telling me how good it is, they were saying it’s a good club so it was a pretty easy decision.”