MARQUEE signing Justin Poore arrived in England this week to meet his new Wakefield Trinity Wildcats team-mates and says he is ready to give the best years of his career to his new club.
Wildcats described the two-year signing of the powerful prop as the club’s “biggest signing in years” after beating off competition from NRL side Newcastle Knights to bring the former State of Origin star to Super League.
Poore checks in at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium with a big reputation and, at the age of 27, entering what many believe the prime years of a professional rugby player’s career.
The former Parramatta Eels man certainly hopes so - and says his performances last year, which he believes were better than those that saw him represent New South Wales in State of Origin, can get even better at Wakefield.
“I needed a change [from playing in Australia], a change is as good as a holiday,” said Poore.
“I feel I had the best year of my career last year and we ran last [with Parramatta]. I played better last year than I was playing State of Origin in 2009 so I feel like I can get better.
“I feel like I can offer the team a lot and I’m just looking forward to ripping into training.”
Wildcats fans should have few concerns over Poore’s ability to settle in his new country.
Shane Tronc, another high-profile Australian prop, left Wakefield after just 11 matches in 2010 after his wife failed to settle in England.
But Poore, whose last visit to the country was representing Australia schoolboys ten years ago, says he will “embrace the culture” during his two-year stay in the city.
It will be helped by his dad being English and living in Southampton and his wife spending two years working in London.
“I had a tough time at home thinking about what I was going to do,” he said.
“I got the opportunity to come over here and I jumped at it. My dad’s over here and my mum’s had a big part in my career as a footballer while my dad’s sort of been on the backburner so it was good to see dad get really excited.”
His dad’s nationality means Poore is eligible to play for England.
It is something he has not given much thought to, but when asked the question said he would dedicate pulling on the white shirt to his dad if asked by head coach Steve McNamara.
“I would play for England,” he revealed. “I think it’d be a bit weird but if you’re eligible then why not? I’d dedicate it to my dad, because to see how proud he was for me to actually come here made me feel good about myself.
“I’d do it, but I basically came here to play good for Wakefield so that stuff I haven’t really thought about.”
Poore is focused on playing well for Wakefield and revealed Wildcats head coach Richard Agar played a big part in his decision to sign.
“He was the reason I came over here,” he commented.
“I loved his enthusiasm with the way he spoke about his players and how he’s dealt with players. We miss a bit of that back home.”
Agar said: “The thing that’s shone through more than anything is his complete enthusiasm for being here, for being in England and for being at this club. We’re pleased to get him here.”
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest Wakefield Wildcats news.