Carlos Tuimavave is convinced Hull FC new recruit Ligi Sao has the ability to light up the Super League in 2020.
After a frustrating period with New Zealand Warriors, Sao opted to turn his back on the NRL and join Hull, linking up with the club at the start of the fifth week of pre-season.
While Sao has spent the last few weeks getting to know his new teammates, Tuimavave was no stranger to him having played together in the same youth team back in Auckland.
As such, Tuimavave knows all about what Sao can bring to the KCOM Stadium and he’s confident the loose-forward can shine in a black and white shirt.
“It’s like they’ve always been there pretty much. They’re fitting in really well,” Tuimavave said.
“Everyone is training hard but those new boys have come in and it’s kind of been like a freshen up and they’re bringing to the team what they bring.
“I played with Ligi back at the Junior Warriors and I’ve met Manu (Ma'u) before and the other guys I’ve played against now and then, but it’s just Ligi and Mahe (Fonua) I’ve played against before.
“I think Ligi is going to be a really good signing for us. I played with him back at the under-20s and he has a real big motor, he’s really strong and he’s got a good off-load game so I think our faster guys like Jamie Shaul are probably going to be benefit a lot from playing with Ligi and hopefully they can pick up a few off-loads from him.
“I think he plays some big minutes so hopefully he can hit the ground running and get some match fitness under his belt and hopefully he can have a good season for us.”
Sao is one of eight new signings made by Lee Radford ahead of the new Super League season, with Hull’s recruitment making plenty of people sit up and take notice.
As such, the depth in the squad is something that hasn’t escaped Tuimavave’s notice with competition for places being intense throughout the squad this pre-season, and he feels it is that depth that gives the club a good chance of reaching their first Grand Final since 2006.
“If you look at the squads through the Super League, every team has a strong squad so there won’t be any easy games,” he added. “We have a lot of depth this year so if we do have players missing or people not performing, we’ve got guys to step in and do a job.
“Every year everybody always says ‘this is going to be our year’, but if we keep putting in the hard work and keep training hard and keep gelling as a team, that will go a long way.
“I think the start of the season is really big for us and picking up those early wins to put us in good stead for the rest of the season and set us up for a Grand Final.”
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