Wigan Warriors second-rower Willie Isa says his long-distance relationship with soccer star Gemma Bonner is working just fine following her move stateside.
Earlier this year, Bonner left Manchester City to join American side Racing Louisville on a two-year deal.
The 30-year-old England international from Leeds scored 11 goals in 69 appearances for Women's Super League outfit City after joining from Liverpool in June 2018.
Isa is keeping tabs on the progress of National Women's Soccer League side Louisville – and remains in close contact with his other half via Facetime.
“I've just been trying to use the club's WiFi wherever I can,” joked the former Widnes Viking star.
“Rads (Kris Radlinski) hasn't caught me yet, but he's maybe not had a bill through.
“They're five hours behind us in Louisville, so it's not too bad, you just have to adapt.
“It's just the way our lives are for now, and Gemma is living life out there.
“Their last game was midnight our time, and I couldn't watch because I had training in the morning.
“But it is what it is, and I try to catch up whenever I can.
“It was much easier when she played for Manchester City, but nowhere could be any further away than my family back home.
“They are 25 hours away, so all of a sudden Louisville doesn’t seem too far.
“We'll make it work, but she is enjoying herself which is the main thing.
“The only thing is the weather over there has been so hot, they've had to move games to make sure the temperature was a bit cooler.
“For a girl from Leeds, it's not ideal, but she's adapting which is all you can do.
“I'm just making sure she's not coming back with an American accent.”
Isa moved to Super League at the age of 22 with Castleford and only planned to stay here for two years before returning to the NRL.
But a move to Widnes followed and then Wigan in 2016, where he has proved a key figure since.
Thus he can understand Bonner’s desire to experience playing abroad, adding: “It's obviously a big move, but I've always been an advocate of doing whatever you have to do.
“I've built a career in England after moving away from home at a young age, and you get to experience a different culture in the UK, and even a different culture in Wigan.
“You just have to embrace it really, and I didn't have too much to say when she made the call.
“I wanted her to be the one to make the call, because it's her who's going to be living with that decision.
“I'll support her the whole way, just as she supports me the whole way.
“She was looking for a change, she's always wanted to go abroad, and this was probably the best opportunity to do that.
“I've spoken to a few of her team-mates on calls, and they have heard of rugby over there - albeit the other code.
“Gemma's had to explain the differences between union and league, and they have watched a couple of our games, which they said they enjoyed.
“They were taken by how quick and constant it was, and they've already been asking me about how we do things at Wigan, to try and pick stuff up.
“Some of the stuff we do is the same but some is very different, and it's always good to share ideas with other sports to try to help yourself.”
As Wigan bid to make it four straight Super League wins at Warrington on Wednesday night, Isa added: “It's all positive after three wins in a row.
“I like going to places like Warrington, and Leeds, where they bring the atmosphere.
“Any player will tell you they like to rise to the occasion when the crowds are big, and it's up to us to play our part along with the fans.
“There were a few games when we let ourselves down a bit, in terms of execution and controlling the game, and Warrington at home last month was probably one of those.
“Do we owe them one? I don't know if I want to use those words.
“I know at Wigan we always turn up for the big games with the right mentality.
“We all know the expectations here, and we don't need to add any more pressure to that in terms of turning up to play.
“The jersey and the players who came before us is the only pressure we have, the platform that's been set that we have to continue.
“We're trying every day to live up to that and uphold the standard and reputation that's been set.”