Frank Paul Nuuausala ignored the advice of his best friend Saints legend Sia Soliola in opting to sign for Wigan.
The New Zealand international forward has joined the Warriors on a three-and-a-half-year deal from Canberra Raiders and could make his debut in Friday’s Super League Grand Final re-match with Leeds at Headingley.
Wigan faced competition for the man dubbed the “wrecking ball” from arch rivals St Helens, who had past and present players Sia Soliola and Lama Tasi pushing their case.
In the end, Nuuausala was swayed by two former Wigan players and Kiwi international team-mates Jeff Lima and Thomas Leuluai and by the the club’s famous name.
“There was a bit of interest there (St Helens) but they just didn’t pull through really,” Nu’uausala told his first press conference at Wigan’s training centre. “It was just all talk.
“With Wigan it was all action. I just had to weigh up my options and decide what’s best for me and my family.
“Sia wanted me to play for Saints and when he found out I was going to sign for Wigan he was giving me some stick but I also got advice from Jeff Lima and Thomas Leuluai about Wigan and I’m hundred per cent happy I chose Wigan.
“They told me about the winning culture and the proud fans. When I was a kid I remember seeing Dean Bell and Frano Botica and Wigan were always on the telly because they were winning trophies.”
The 29-year-old prop, an NRL Grand Final winner who was in the Sydney Roosters team that beat Wigan in the 2014 World Club Challenge, only arrived in England on Monday and has not played a match for three months after being dropped by Canberra coach Ricky Stuart but he could be pressed into early action by coach Shaun Wane.
“He’s a chance,” Wane said. “He didn’t sleep much last night . We’ll see how he is on team run on Thursday and I’ll make a decision on how long I’m going to play him, if at all.”