The Dolphins signed three of the Storm’s most skilled gamers — however Felise Kaufusi hoped there was a fourth.
That’s why he was “throwing everything and anything” at Cameron Munster within the hopes of convincing him to hitch the enlargement membership too.
Kaufusi was the Dolphins’ inaugural NRL signing. He inked a three-year deal in November, 2021. Two months later Jesse Bromwich signed after which his youthful brother Kenny adopted.
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Munster was already contracted to the Storm for 2023 however the Dolphins chased him laborious for 2024 and past, tabling a wealthy four-year supply to the 28-year-old.
Coach Wayne Bennett won’t have recognized it, however Kaufusi was additionally attempting to work his magic on the famous person five-eighth.
“I was being a bit cheeky in his ear,” Kaufusi advised foxsports.com.au.
“I know his partner’s from the Sunshine Coast, which is just up the road so they’d have some help with their little one. I was throwing everything and anything I could to try and get him to come here.
“But at the end of the day it’s his decision. You can try and entice people but it’s their decision and obviously (re-signing with the Storm) is what he believes is best for him and his family and his career.
“I definitely thought we were a chance (of getting Munster), especially when the Bromwich boys came on board as well.
“I was hoping and like I said I was in his ear being cheeky. I told him plenty of things to try and get him over the line but at the end of the day it’s his decision.”
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Kaufusi’s badgering didn’t work. Munster re-signed with the Storm till the tip of 2027 — one thing a fuming Bennett needed to study by way of the media.
Kaufusi began together with his new membership on January 4 after a well-deserved break following the Rugby League World Cup.
He mentioned the expertise to date has been “different” however “very exciting too.”
The 30-year-old has spent all of his eight seasons within the NRL with the Storm earlier than making the large name to hitch the Dolphins.
When requested whether or not he approached the Dolphins a couple of deal or vice versa he mentioned: “A bit of both.”
“I obviously knew the Dolphins were joining the competition and I thought ‘this is a chance for me to come back closer to home.’ I was definitely open to it,” he added.
But that didn’t make the choice to really undergo with leaving the membership he gained two premierships with any simpler.
“I love the Storm, I love Melbourne. The city itself as well, I just love the whole environment,” Kaufusi mentioned.
“I loved that no one knew who you were there — it’s an AFL city. You go do your groceries and no one gives a c**p who you are, having that type of freedom was awesome.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the Storm. Obviously everyone knows of their success, but even just the opportunities they’ve given me as a player and for my family has been awesome.
“It definitely was a tough decision but at the end of the day I had to weigh up where I was as a player and in my career.
“One of the major factors was being a lot closer to home and closer to family. I grew up in Bundaberg which is just up the road. It was two flights (to get there) from Melbourne but now we can duck back home if we’ve got the weekend off.”
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Another large drawcard for Kaufusi was the possibility to be part of historical past.
“They talk down in Melbourne about the foundation players and the importance of it,” he mentioned.
“I don’t know if all the (Dolphins) players realise how special this is. I think it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity so I wanted to be a part of that.”
And being the Dolphins’ inaugural signing isn’t misplaced on him too.
“I’ll carry that forever, I’ll tell my grandkids and say ‘listen, I was the first one to sign’,” Kaufusi laughed earlier than including: “But that doesn’t mean I’m the marquee signing — the price tag doesn’t come with it.
“I know that they were looking at other players as well so it was a bit of a surprise (to be the first signing). But it was awesome, it’s pretty special.”
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But as thrilling as a brand new chapter is, there was one problem Kaufusi needed to overcome first — breaking the news to Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
“It sucked,” he conceded.
“I’ve got so much respect for him, he’s helped me my whole career. Not just him, but the whole club itself — they’ve been unreal. But you’ve got to have those tough conversations.
“He understood where I was coming from and it was pretty mutual in the end in what was best for me and my family going forward.”
A brand new chapter isn’t too far-off for Bellamy too with 2023 anticipated to be his ultimate 12 months on the helm earlier than shifting into a training director position.
But that didn’t affect Kaufusi’s transfer to the Dolphins.
“Never at all did that factor into my decision because I just think they have a great system and great football department (at the Storm) that whoever comes in — when it’s time — will do a great job because they’ve set those foundations so strong,” he mentioned.
Kaufusi’s aim is to “at least” make the highest eight this 12 months, declaring: “I didn’t come here to lose or be another franchise.”
He is aware of that’s a good problem however he’s hoping to implement the requirements he lived by on the Storm to place the Dolphins in good stead.
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“They (the Storm) work hard, their work ethic is second to none,” Kaufusi mentioned.
“The way they go about their work too, they don’t cut corners, they’re really strategic in finding out where they went wrong or where they can improve. Every year they find something to work on.
“Hopefully I can show some sort of leadership that way, that hard work does pay off and there’s no easy way around it — you can’t just stuff around at training and expect it to happen.”
And when you ask Jesse Bromwich, Kaufusi completely has been delivering as a frontrunner.
“It’s been really good having him here, he’s really come out of his shell,” Bromwich advised foxsports.com.au.
“In Melbourne we had a lot of good leaders so I guess ‘Fusi’ didn’t have to do too much down there in the leadership space but up here we need him to be a leader. He’s done a really good job.”
Source web site: www.foxsports.com.au