Family before NRL for England forward Ferres
Hard-hitting England forward Brett Ferres has revealed he was so close to joining an NRL club this season that he flew his wife, children and mother to Australia in preparation for his emigration.
The 188cm, 104kg Huddersfield Giant is a key part of England's bid to take out the Baskerville Shield against New Zealand and even replace Australia as the game's number two country over the next month in a three-Test series that kicks off this Sunday at Hull's KC Stadium.
But Ferres could easily have been joining coach Steve McNamara and his team's NRL contingent on a flight that arrived from Sydney just hours before the Super League grand final on October 10.
"There were a few sniffs. There was a couple of options there," Ferres told NRL.com.
"It was very flattering and obviously it's something I really, really thought about."
So hard, in fact, that wife Amanda, young children Robyn and Ava and mother Pat travelled to Sydney during last year's Four Nations to see how they liked it.
Ferres explained: "I really enjoyed my time over there. The lifestyle was part of it but also the rugby league was great as well.
"The family came and checked everything out.
"They came over for nearly four weeks. I brought my mum over and my wife and two kids. It was a big move at the time. They wanted to come out and experience it and see what it was all about.
"I looked at that avenue and decided not to go down there and I re-signed at Huddersfield. My future lies here."
While more and more Super League stars are trying their luck in the NRL, Ferres said it would have been too much of a wrench for personal reasons.
"We had a good look around," he said.
"It's a bit difficult with a young family. I've got two girls at six and two.
"We just decided as a family unit it was probably better to stay closer to home, I'm a bit of a mummy's boy. I like to have my mum around. And my dad's a massive part of my life as well. It would be difficult to be not going around to their house.
"I've signed another four year deal at Huddersfield. That will probably take me to retirement age."
Asked to identify the clubs involved, he said with a smile: "There might have been one in Sydney and one out of Sydney."
England's task at whittling down its starting team was helped when fullback Sam Tomkins was ruled out on Thursday for the entire series, leaving Zac Hardaker to fill the No.1 jersey.
New Zealand's co-captain Adam Blair continues to race the clock to overcome a calf injury. At the time of writing, the number of tickets remaining for the First Test was in the hundreds.
Games between England or Great Britain and New Zealand have occasionally been violent affairs with Issac Luke admitting he tried to break the leg of cousin Rangi Chase four years ago.
"There's a little bit of banter here and there," Ferres says.
"But I think those days are pretty much gone. When I first came through, there were a lot of verbals and calling them stuff.
"It seems to have gone out of the game now. It's more professional. People would rather whack you than say something.
"It does get a bit heated at times. You probably say things you shouldn't and move onto things that shouldn't be said."