Scotland forward Luke Douglas admits he’s hopeful of making more special memories with the national side in the next few weeks – the kind of which persuaded him to play his rugby in this country full-time.
Douglas has signed a three-year deal with St Helens for 2017 and beyond, but before that, he will try and help the Bravehearts cause some major upsets in this year’s Four Nations.
The forward featured prominently in the Scotland side which reached the quarter-finals of the 2013 World Cup on British soil, and he admits he’s looking forward to experiencing British rugby league on a permanent basis.
“It was a tough one. I live in a great spot on the Gold Coast, two hours away from where I grew up, but when I came over for the World Cup in 2013 I really enjoyed the time, the experience, and the passion that the Northern English have about rugby league,” he said.
“I always thought I might want to stop over here although I thought it might be more like 2018 because I knew we were going to have a little one. But now I will be here for 2017, 2018 and 2019 and it’s the opportunity I wanted. Keiron (Cunningham, St Helens coach) and Saints have been really good and keen to get me over, and when someone is interested in you, you want to repay them.
“So it’s a new adventure to come over here, they are a great club and I want to contribute off the field with the various things they have got going on, as well as on the field. It’s good that I have played with (fellow Scottish international) Adam Walker before, now he has signed for St Helens for next year, too.
“In Australia you have to put sunscreen on after every session, but over here I’ll have to pack a few extra jumpers. But I am looking forward to it, it should be really good”.
Douglas concedes that their Four Nations opener against Australia on Friday is a daunting task – but says he’s hopeful that by playing the Kangaroos first up, they can exploit a few fallacies that may be lingering.
“A few of their guys went deep into the NRL finals, but a couple of guys got married the other week so they are going to be in the position of not having played for a while, and hopefully we can exploit them, although they did have a game against the Kiwis,” he said.
“I, and the other NRL players who have played against them, can give feedback to Steve (McCormack) on their strengths and weaknesses, as we are playing against these players each week, and hopefully our experience in the NRL can match some of their talent.
“It’s a great opportunity as Australia, in fact all three teams we are playing, are the best in the world and it will be tough, but hopefully we can be really competitive on Friday night”.
And Douglas is also hopeful his experience can help develop a young, exciting group of Bravehearts described by some as the best in their history.
“I am 30 now, and have a lot of years’ experience in the NRL, so hopefully that can rub off on the other players in terms of professionalism, getting ready for games, what I do off the field and on the field as well”.