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Enjoyment – it’s the simple ingredient that Parramatta and Country Origin centre Timana Tahu has credited for his return to representative rugby league this season after a mixed two-year stint in rugby union.<br><br>In what serves as a subtle warning to Brisbane star Israel Folau – who is on the verge of signing a big-money deal to join new Super 15 rugby franchise Melbourne Rebels – Tahu says he is finally enjoying his football again after returning to the Eels for the first time since 2007. <br><br>“I think it all comes down to getting back in and enjoying what I do,” the 29-year-old told ahead of Friday night’s clash with City in Port Macquarie.<br><br>“The last two years I didn’t play much football. I had a few injuries here and there too but coming back to league I’m playing 80 minutes now. <br><br>“It keeps you pretty busy with tackling and things like that and it’s good – I’m enjoying it. <br><br>“I think turning up at training and on game day, if you don’t enjoy it you shouldn’t be there. <br><br>“For me it’s a positive thing that I still have those nerves when I run out on the field.”<br><br>Tahu showed some good signs after moving to rugby in 2008 but quickly became frustrated with regular bench starts for the NSW Waratahs.<br><br>Despite debuting for Australia in his maiden season, he and fellow league convert Lote Tuqiri quickly fell out of favour with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and he spent his final months in the 15-man code turning out for club side West Harbour.<br><br>Tahu said it would always be difficult for rugby league players to adapt to the structure of union which makes it difficult for outside backs to get their hands on the ball.<br><br>“That’s the thing with rugby,” he warned. “It’s a different code, a different set of rules, different types of players and a different structure as well. <br><br>“It’s hard to get yourself involved and it’s very structured, whereas in league nobody is stopping you if you want to come in and take a dummy-half run or get in and do some tackling. <br><br>“I’m really happy at the moment.”<br><br>Like many of his Eels team-mates, Tahu took some time to warm into the new season as Parramatta struggled to a 1-4 start to the year.<br><br>But after kicking into gear in their Round 5 loss to Canberra, Tahu made his presence felt with two huge plays in the Eels’ 22-8 win over South Sydney, and hasn’t looked back.<br><br>“I expected it to be a challenge coming back to league – it was always going to be difficult in the first few rounds,” he said. <br><br>“I was never going to come out all guns blazing playing the same footy I was when I left in 2007.<br><br>“For me it was just getting back on the field and working on the basics.<br><br>“But also, when your team is playing well it helps individuals play well so the past few weeks you’ve seen guys like Timmy Mannah, Kris Keating and Luke Burt (who will all feature in Friday’s City-Country game) start to play well.”<br><br>Tahu was a regular on the representative scene before his defection to union, playing five Tests and 11 games for NSW (as well as three games for Country between 2001-03).<br><br>But he was quick to deflect talk of an Origin recall this season, insisting he was content with whatever rewards came his way.<br><br>“I always said a long time back that my main focus was playing good footy and if I got a rep jersey it was a bonus,” he said. <br><br>“For me the only thing that matters is going out and playing my best for Country.”<br>
Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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