'The answer was the Storm': Kaufusi signs new deal
In-demand second rower Felise Kaufusi says staying with the Melbourne Storm was the obvious option when he considered how to get the most out of future in the NRL.
Kaufusi re-signed with the Storm for two years on Tuesday morning, with an option of two further seasons at the club.
At 26, he's coming into his prime and already with a Test jumper and a premiership win to his name and more representative success in store, he's decided the Storm is the place we can reap the most rewards.
"We sat down with my manager, my wife and little family, and spoke about some different things," Kaufusi said of his contract decision.
"Every question we asked, the answer was the Melbourne Storm. I think that's where I can play my best footy and keep improving."
Kaufusi said the team was focused on improvement leading into a make-or-break time for their Telstra Premiership defence in the coming weeks.
The Craig Bellamy-coached side dropped to sixth spot after Saturday night's loss to the Sea Eagles.
The last time they had a 6-5 start to the season was in 2014, where they made the finals but were knocked out in the first week in September.
Throw in Curtis Scott's two-week suspension, injuries to key forwards Jesse Bromwich and Tim Glasby and a misfiring attack, and the Storm could be starting to panic.
But Kaufusi – who will likely miss matches for the Storm because of an impending Queensland Origin berth – says his club will be OK as long as they hold onto the ball.
"It's always a tough period for us at the Storm because we always have many selected during the Origin period," he said.
"I just think we need to focus on ourselves and try and turn things around."
Kaufusi admitted Scott's absence will be difficult but feels there are others who can do a good job.
"It's going to be pretty hard, but we do have some centres that have been playing for us," he said.
"Justin Olam, who played for us earlier, Young Tonumaipea's coming back from injury and also Cheyse Blair. I think there's a bit of depth there – will see how it goes."
Kaufusi remembers watching Origin games in his living room as a youngster. There's a good chance he'll be playing instead on June 6 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"Since I was a little fella growing up in Queensland, we used to sit in front of the TV (watching Origin) and scream as loud as we can," he said.
"It definitely is a dream if I do get picked, but it's out of my control."