Tui Lolohea admits he has rediscovered his happiness at Salford Red Devils as he aims to move his new club another step closer to the play-offs when he returns to his former side this weekend.
Lolohea returns to Leeds on Friday for the first time since switching from the Rhinos to the Red Devils earlier this season, in a deal which appears to have brought the best out of the New Zealand international. And he told League Express that his move across the Pennines has been excellent for him as he eyes up an unlikely run to the Grand Final with Salford.
“It’s been amazing here at Salford,” he said. “Personally and collectively, everyone’s confidence was hit at Leeds. It’s is a big club and when the coach leaves after a couple of months and you’re fighting at the bottom, that’s always going to make it tough. I was in the middle of it there, but I’m loving my footy again at Salford.”
Having spent the early part of the year in a relegation battle with Leeds, Lolohea now has aspirations of walking out at Old Trafford with his new club.
And he says that after victory over Warrington on Thursday, few, if any, sides will fancy a play-off showdown with Salford. He said: “I think teams will want to avoid us, for sure. In any sport, a team that surprises everyone and exceeds expectations is really dangerous. It’s a good position for us to be in.
“Nobody expected us to be here but we’re heading in the right direction for sure. If we can continue like this, there’s a genuine chance we could make the Grand Final. I’d have never expected it, being at Leeds when it was tough and we were struggling there.
“I’m pretty confident we can get there and we’ve just got to stay consistent over the final two weeks. That will determine whether we’re a top-five team or not. People didn’t expect us to be in this position, but going in as underdogs is a good position to be in.
“It’s going to be really exciting going back to Leeds. Any player that changes clubs mid-season and gets to line up against his old team is facing a big night, but it’s an important game for us. It’ll be good to go back to Headingley; it’s an amazing stadium and an amazing crowd, so it’ll be fun.”