New Raider Nuuausala dreading Roosters clash
An emotional Frank-Paul Nuuausala says he's not looking forward to taking on his former club the Roosters, despite embracing his new role as an experienced campaigner at Canberra.
Quick to point out the Roosters gave him his first shot as an 18-year-old, the Raiders recruit said his departure from the 2013 premiers was the hardest thing he has ever had to deal with.
"I had been at the Chooks since I was 18. I went there as a shy, angry kid with a chip on my shoulder and they molded me into the man I am today," Nuuausala told NRL.com.
"They gave me my first opportunity to play first grade. It was the hardest thing I've ever been told, that my time was up."
With the Raiders pencilled in to play the Roosters in Round 4, Nuuausala said he is feeling anxious about opposing his former team.
"That's the first time someone has asked me [about playing them]. Until it comes, I'm dreading it," Nuuausala sighed.
"I hold the Roosters close to my heart so I have mixed feelings about playing against my brothers.
"I do realise though for 80 minutes, once we cross that white line, my brothers in green will have my back and I'll have theirs, and after the game I'll know me and my other brothers will be all good – it's just footy.
"Sure it wasn't my choice to leave. But as the saying goes a door closes and another door opens."
Nuuausala's opportunity at Canberra sees the utility forward reunite with Ricky Stuart, who coached the 27-year-old when he first arrived at the Roosters.
Now with 153 NRL games under his belt, Nuuausala is expected to take on extra responsibility at the Raiders as one of Stuart's more experienced players – a changing of the guard which certainly isn't lost on the Kiwi international.
"It's a different contrast isn't it? We had a good chat about it a couple of weeks ago and laughed about it," Nuuausala said.
"Back then I was obviously a young kid but now Ricky is looking for leadership and for me to teach the younger boys. With the experience and knowledge that I have, I hope to pass down all the things I learnt from the senior players at the Roosters to my teammates here."
Off the field, Nuuausala has found plenty of positives about living in the nation's capital despite a change of pace from the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
"Canberra's different. It's quiet. There's no traffic. It's something different. It's a good different," Nuuausala said.
"In saying that I still miss Sydney; I was there for 10 years. I still haven't found my feet down here. I'm just taking it step by step. It has its moments but I know I can talk to the boys here which allows me to enjoy being here."