Scott Anderson, Matt Ryan and Pita Godinet flew across the world last weekend in time to line up against Salford on Sunday. Peter Smith reports.
THERE WERE sighs of relief on both sides of the world when visas arrived for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ three imports last week.
Aussie forwards Scott Anderson and Matt Ryan and Samoan hooker/half-back Pita Godinet had all been waiting since before Christmas for clearance to play in the UK.
The trio jumped on the first available flights and arrived in this country on Sunday evening/Monday morning – and coach Richard Agar confirmed they will all be in the squad for Sunday’s First Utility Super League opener at Salford Red Devils.
Their feet have barely had time to touch the ground, but prop Anderson – an NRL Grand Final winner with Melbourne Storm, who was signed from Brisbane Broncos – said he is just glad to get cracking.
“It has been really good,” he said of his first week at Wakefield.
“I have enjoyed my time here so far. It was frustrating [waiting for a visa], but we are here now and it’s time to get down to business and start playing some football.
“I’m not worried about anything other than getting out there and doing that.”
Of the prospect of making his debut a week after arriving at the club, Anderson, 28, said: “I am not worried, we are settling in well and training well and I can’t see it being a problem.”
Godinet, 26, played for New Zealand Warriors before signing for Wildcats and is back in England just three months after starring here for Samoa during the World Cup.
He described the wait for paperwork as “frustrating and a bit worrying at times”, but added: “In the end we got there and we’ve made it here safe and sound.
“The hardest thing was training by ourselves back at home. That was a bit different, it was a long off-season, but we’ve made it here and were just trying to get used to the boys now in the lead up to the game on Sunday.
“I’m excited about that and keen as to go out and make my debut and put on a show. We have heard a lot of stories about Salford and the make-up of their team, but we are just going to stay united and think of ourselves and our own rules and go out and give it to them on Sunday.”
Second-row Ryan, who joined Wildcats for Parramatta Eels, is also itching to begin his new career.
He said: “It was a big relief to finally get that visa and get over here.
“We just got straight into training and forgot about it. The club have embraced us, they have looked after us and I don’t think it [arriving so late] will be a problem.”
None of the three has much time to settle in, with Wildcats due to back-up at home to Bradford Bulls next Thursday.
“I think it is a good thing we arrived Sunday night and trained Monday morning,” Ryan said.
“We just forgot about what happened in the last few months and got straight into it.
“The club and staff have been in touch with us since we signed, so there’s been no holes in communication.
“It has been good and it will be good to play in Super League – I like the way they play over here and the atmosphere is something I am looking forward to.
“It is going to be really exciting.”
Conditions at the moment are a far cry from an Australian summer, though Ryan isn’t too concerned. “I am a red-head, so I don’t like the sun,” he said. “Wednesday was a bit too windy, but when I was younger I used to love playing in the rain.
“It’s just football to me.”
Agar confirmed he will name all three recruits in his initial 19-man squad for Sunday.
“They all trained with us on Monday,” he said.
“They’re still not fully over the jetlag, but we’re hoping by the time Sunday comes they will be a bit better. We are pleased to get them in.
“Obviously they have missed all of pre-season with us, but the sooner we can get them bedded in and settled I am sure we’ll start to see the benefits.
“But we’re not expecting miracles from them this week after four sessions.”
Meanwhile, Agar, who has also signed Leeds hooker Paul McShane this winter, is looking for more signings after Lee Smith’s departure to Newcastle Falcons Rugby Union Club opened up some space in his playing budget.
“We want to bring players of the right quality in, that are going to enhance our team,” he said. “At this stage of the season we have to look at whether those players are available and what we’ve got left in terms of the quota – which is very, very little. We will have a look around and see if there’s any movement and if not we’ll keep our powder dry and hopefully something will come up – as it usually does – that we think will benefit our team.
“There’s a couple of spots we’d like to strengthen, we’d still like another outside-back and a bit more quality and depth in the front-row if we could.”