Arona's return boosted by Bluebag positives
After playing in almost every NRL game possible last season, recently recalled Sharks forward Tinirau Arona has spent the most part of 2015 biding his time playing for the Newtown Jets in the NSW Cup – a scenario he has become well-equipped to handle thanks to previous experiences.
Working in the 26-year-old's favour is the fact that the Jets before this year were the Sydney Roosters' feeder club, something which has helped the former Chook acclimatise to his surroundings this season.
Returning to a familiar environment where even coach Greg Matterson remains, Arona's second-coming for the Bluebags has helped shape the off-contract Arona's positive mindset.
"I've learnt a fair bit over the years and I've been in this situation before. I think when I was a bit younger I used to stress a fair bit over what was going to happen the following year," Arona told NRL.com.
"Then things would end up working out and I would look back and I would realise it wasn't worth stressing about. So for me now it's about me keeping positive and working on my craft.
"I think I've been able to stress less and be more positive through becoming more mature in the game. I see a big difference in myself and a few of the younger guys in the team now where they are in a similar situation to me.
"I remember that I thought the same way they did when I was in their shoes at that age so rugby league has helped me grow as a person and to only worry about what needs to be done internally."
Considering he was a mainstay in the Sharks' 2014 season from hell, the fact he has only been able to rack up a mere eight games this year isn't frowned upon. Rather it's a motivating factor for Arona to build upon.
"It gets hard sometimes but it is part of the job and it keeps me hungry to keep working hard to push my way back into the NRL. It keeps me on my feet but it has been a bit of a journey this year," Arona said.
"I don't see it as a slap in the face or everything like that. It's more an opportunity for me to work on my game, keep improving and do my best for Newtown."
While his recall has come in light of the Fifita twins being stood down, Arona was just happy to concentrate on containing North Queensland boppers James Tamou and Matt Scott this weekend.
"I think we can say we conquered a big task over the past weekend by beating the Warriors," he said. "They have a huge forward pack, and not only their forwards, but their wingers are probably bigger than their forwards so we did a great job against them I thought and we'll try and carry that same form into the Cowboys game."