Takairangi not angry with Tigers
It's never nice knowing you're not wanted by a club. Doubly so when they agreed to provide for you and your family for three years, too. For it to happen to Brad Takairangi just a couple of months before Christmas was bordering on NRL cruelty.
And here's why: on September 19, the former Titan agreed to a three-year deal with the Wests Tigers hoping to add some much-needed depth and experience to what was at times a makeshift and raw backline at Concord last season.
Less than three weeks later the joint venture backflipped on the deal, leaving Takairangi out in NRL limbo in a time when most salary caps are just about full. Only Parramatta were willing to throw him a lifeline, but only on a one-year deal.
"I guess I was a little bit shell-shocked when it all happened, but I honestly think it's a blessing in disguise," he told NRL.com.
"I guess I could be filthy, but I'm pretty confident in my abilities. I backed myself just to sign a one-year deal and hopefully I can have a pretty good big pre-season which I've been having at the moment," he said.
Given his 2014 output on the Gold Coast, the well-travelled Takairangi has reason to feel confident.
After failing to crack the Sharks as a local junior, he played for South Sydney's Holden Cup side in 2009, made his debut for the Roosters in a three-year spell before moving to the Titans as a combination centre/back-rower in 2013.
It was there where Takairangi established himself as a first-grade centre, playing 16 games for then-coach John Cartwright. Last season he kicked on to play 21 games – the most in his five years in the NRL.
"The last two seasons at the Titans has been massive for my career. I went away as an interchange player and the two years up there, I established myself as a starting centre," he said.
"That too has been a blessing, being away for two years and establishing myself as a centre. And now I've got a chance to come down here and build on that."
There will be challenges, like fending off veteran centre Beau Champion and impressive rookie John Folau to partner Ryan Morgan in the three-quarter line.
"But you get that in every team. It's no different here," he said. "We've got good centres for those two spots in Morgs, Beau Champion there. And we've got young guys like Vai [Toutai] and Johnny Folau coming through.
"I haven't seen too much of [Folau] play, but he's a big boy and he looks very powerful. If he keeps training hard, I'm sure he'll get a crack."
Brad won't be the first Takairangi to run out in blue and gold, either. Dad Louis played three games on the wing for the club in 1987, playing outside the likes of John Muggleton, Steve Ella and Peter Sterling.
"He was a very, very big winger. I think he was on the wing because he couldn't tackle. He could only take massive hit ups and use his weight, I think," Takairangi laughed.
"When I made the decision to come to Parramatta he was pretty proud. For me to follow in his footsteps and play for Parramatta is a pretty special thing for my family," he said.