Dean Whare came down to earth with a bump after he landed in Perpignan to take up his career in Super League with Catalans.
The jet lag had hardly worn off for the former Penrith star before he sustained a badly-broken nose in the round-two clash with Huddersfield.
“It got busted alright,” the New Zealand international told League Express.
“It was still leaking every time I had contact in the next three games, but thankfully it’s all healed up now. It’s all part of the fun of Rugby League!”
Whare, 31, has slotted in perfectly at the Dragons as a replacement for Israel Folau, and his partnership with winger Tom Davies looks likely to produce many more points as the season develops.
“I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone so far. The boys have been going good in the league and we’re pretty excited about getting crowds back,” he added.
“We’re kicking ourselves after that Challenge Cup defeat to Warrington. We’ve watched the game again and it’s clear where we went wrong, you can’t win a game against quality opposition when you complete at such a low rate and concede so many penalties.
“We were making it hard for ourselves and it’s up to us to put it right.”
Whare has been impressed by the standards in the English/European game.
“I feel it’s pretty much the same. I have the same soreness and fatigue levels as I did after a game in the NRL,” said the man who started out at Manly.
“The boys are the same size as in Australia, they run with the same intensity, so for me there’s not much of a difference between the two comps.
“The NRL have their top teams who play at a certain level and there are those at the bottom of the ladder who are constantly rebuilding to get up to that level. I think that’s pretty much the same thing as here.”
Another surprise for Whare has been the similarities between the south of France and life Down Under.
“It’s still early and there has been some lockdown over here, but the lifestyle seems pretty similar to the one I had in Australia,” he explained.
“The people are very laid-back and the sun has come out now in France so we’re pretty lucky to be living here.
“I’m starting to pick up the language, I can finally go to the bakery and order what I want.
“It all depends on how hard you want to try and learn French. We’ve got two children who go to the local school so we’ll probably end up learning from them.
“We see our kids having proper conversations with their friends and we can’t keep up but we’re really keen and hopefully it will come together soon.”
Whare is keeping an eye on his former teammates’ impressive start to the NRL season, despite struggling to see games on television.
He said: “Penrith are going really well. It’s great to see, but we’re still working on internet and TV service at our new house so it’s difficult to watch them at the moment.
“Funnily enough, we’ve been off social media and TV until we sort out the right system, and it’s felt good not to be on the phone, laptop or in front of the TV for a while.”
Whare would jump at the chance of adding to his 19 caps in this year’s World Cup, but he is refusing to look too far forward at the moment.
He continued: “It’s a real honour to represent your country and I would love to play a part in the tournament, but you can’t let that enter your mind when you’ve got a job to do.
“It’s not even in my head, my focus is purely on Catalans and Super League.”
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