HE WAS born in New Zealand, has represented Samoa and played all his previous career in Australia’s NRL, but Jesse Sene-Lefao reckons he has found a home at Castleford Tigers.
The former Manly Sea Eagles and Cronulla Sharks forward has made a big impact in Tigers’ 100 per cent start to Betfred Super League and is revelling in a new role – and the attacking style of the European game.
“In the NRL I was playing front-row and I’ve come here and I’m playing on the edge, so I get to play a bit more footy,” said the 27-year-old.
“We certainly play a different way to what I’ve been involved in in the past and I am enjoying it – loving it.
“In my mind I think England have always played this way – they have always moved the ball more than Australian people.
“Here they actually play footy and have fun with it. In Australia they play a bit more safe, but then in good ball [approaching the opposition’s line] that’s when they come out.”
The change of position has also suited Sene-Lefao, who is in Tigers’ initial 19-man squad to visit Widnes Vikings tomorrow.
He said: “I have always loved back-row, but obviously just to get an opportunity in Australia I had to play front-row.
“Sometimes in your career you’ve got to do what works. Now I get to play back-row and I am enjoying my time outside Galey [Luke Gale] and inside Shenny [Michael Shenton].
“Players like that pick you up every week and we’ve got a good forward pack as well that likes to move the ball and pass, so it’s good.”
Tigers will be aiming to extend their winning start to four games tomorrow, but Sene-Lefao shrugged off fears they may be peaking too early.
“I honestly still believe we can improve,” he stated. “There’s a few things we still need to work on. It is still early, it’s only round three. It is good to be clicking, but I think there’s room for improvement.”
If Tigers continue in their current form, Sene-Lefao could get to make up for missing Cronulla’s NRL Grand Final triumph last year.
“There was a few clubs I could have gone to, but praise God for his guidance that I’ve come here to Cas and I am really enjoying my time here,” he said.
“My family’s happy; I am happy on the field and off the field. I can’t fault anything right now.
“We are working hard every day, challenging each other, which makes it a good environment.”
Old Trafford is the team aim, but Sene-Lefao also has a personal goal for the end of the year. He said: “I want to push for the World Cup. “It would be awesome to get in, but I have got to focus on here first.
“It is still very early and anything can happen. I am just looking to get better. I feel if the guys around me are working hard and I am working hard, we are going to get to where we need to be.”
Ben Roberts, Joel Monaghan and Luke Million are all vying for a Tigers call-up tomorrow, with Will Maher dropping out from the 17 named for last week’s big win over Leeds.
Widnes Vikings: from Ah Van, Armstrong, Bridge, Buchanan, Burke, Cahill, Chapelhow, Craven, Dudson, Hanbury, Heremaia, Houston, Leuluai, Marsh, Olbison, Runciman, Thompson, White, Whitley.
Castleford Tigers: from Cook, Eden, Gale, Hardaker, Lynch, Massey, McShane, McMeeken, Millington, Million, Milner, Minikin, Monaghan, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Webster.
Referee: Jack Smith (Warrington).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.