Paea happy to be out of the school environment of the NRL

Mickey Paea has compared playing in Australia to being back in school.

The Tonga international has returned to Super League after a frustrating two-year spell at Newcastle Knights.

Paea was nudged out by the Knights during his second year but was handed a lifeline by Lee Radford, who re-signed the forward having previously worked with him before his move to the NRL.

The 31-year-old has spent the last number of weeks in training with his new team-mates, and he admitted it was far more enjoyable than the training with the Knights.

“If you’re happy somewhere that usually transfers into your Rugby League,” he said.

“Being back here already, I forgot how good of an environment it is. In Australia, it’s like a strict Catholic school where you’ve got to listen to the teacher. I just remember why I enjoyed my time here and why I know this club brings the best out of me.

“I was told I wasn’t required second year which was tough. Going into a season knowing you’re not part of the plans is hard. Trying to find fulfilment and enjoyment in that is tough. But we had our kid in that time and Rugby League took a backseat. I’m happy I had that focus.”

Having been thrown a new opportunity by the Black and Whites, Paea is determined to repay the favour.

“I know I can contribute to this club,” he said.

“Being part of something, knowing you’re appreciated and part of the plans, that gives me the incentive to want to do well and repay the favour in Radders and the club. They’ve thrown a lifeline out to me and it’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly.”