Tetevano's daily training nerves secure new Roosters deal
Sydney Roosters enforcer Zane Tetevano still gets nervous before training sessions.
Not just games, but training sessions, most every single time he is either trotting around or shifting tin at the game's most glamourous club, alongside some of the biggest profiles in the game.
Those same nerves have helped secure Tetevano's future until the end 2019, with the Roosters quietly re-signing him last month and upgrading his current deal.
Both parties see the 27-year-old's new contract as just reward for his impressive impact from the bench last season, and the faith to punt on a rugby league return when serious domestic violence charges looked to have ended his career.
The club, player and NRL Integrity Unit had to determine whether Tetevano, convicted of repeated and brutal drunken assaults against his ex-girlfriend in 2014, was worthy of another first-grade crack after a two-year exile from the game.
Even with the governing body's clearance and Trent Robinson's backing, Tetevano wasn't sure if he still needed rugby league in his rebuilt life when he turned up for his first Roosters pre-season 18 months ago.
His nerves that first training day were palpable, and Tetevano hopes, will be for a while yet.
"Turning up to training that first day was one of the hardest things I've done in a while," Tetevano told NRL.com ahead of Saturday's clash with the Warriors.
"Getting through my first run though, I did feel like I had unfinished business in the NRL.
"That first day, it was intimidating for sure. There's big names and a big standard here as a playing group, right through the Roosters system, it's just so professional here.
"Every day I'm still trying to prove myself. At training even now, I'm still nervous pretty much every session.
"I'm still on edge because I want to do the right thing and make sure that I'm still performing properly.
"The day I don't get nervous before training, that's probably the day I should retire. Right now I still want to learn and improve and that's why I'm still here."
Here is Roosters HQ at Moore Park.
But home is still the Central Coast suburb of Terrigal for Tetevano and his current partner, who are expecting their second child together in a month's time.
Tetevano's two older kids from a previous relationship still live in New Zealand with their mother.
He catches the train to and from Sydney a couple of times each week, making a three-hour round trip on public transport because he won't be moving his young family any time soon.
For a long time, his happy home life and 60-hour weeks on construction sites were all Tetevano wanted.
When he was sentenced to nine months' jail a few years back, which was not served after a successful appeal, Tetevano's lawyer declared he had “no desire to return to the toxic environment that the NRL invites”.
For a long time, reserve grade footy with the Wyong Roos was enough for him. He already had his second chance, and was already making the most of it.
So when Robinson called with a cut-price Roosters deal on offer, he didn't jump at it straight away.
"It was a hard thought process actually," Tetevano says.
"Coming back to serious footy, I had to sit with my partner and work out if it was the best thing for us, juggle some opportunities.
"I was actually really happy with working, I was building frames and trusses, just labouring work.
"It actually excited me, the long 10-hour plus days, it was different and a learning curve for me.
"I'd never been in the work force before, there was that realisation of what it's like in the real world.
"It changed my attitude to a lot of things."
Among those was professional rugby league, with the potential to provide and everything else that comes with it. And then those nerves kicked in.
"The new contract, it's pretty exciting and good news for me and my family.
"For me I'm now about playing well and giving back to the Roosters for having that faith in me."