Off-contract Wests Tigers prop Sauaso Sue has controlled a variety of unwelcomed footballing firsts, but is still weighing up his NRL future as he chases a maiden finals opportunity.
Dropped to the Intrust Super Premiership for the first time in his six year stint at the Tigers, Sue finds himself in unfamiliar territory, having never gone so long in a season without securing a deal for the following year.
The 26-year-old Samoan international has recently been linked with a move to a rival club in Sydney, with his name being thrown up as a potential Bulldogs signing in 2019.
“I haven’t signed anything, i’m still negotiating,” Sue told NRL.com on Wednesday.
Given a demotion to the second-tier squad twice through the season, Sue admits doubts began to creep in.
My value’s going down each ISP game I’m playing, it was playing on my mind,” Sue said.
“But you’ve just got to keep positive, turn up game day, and be ready to play your best footy so that’s it.
“It was very tough. I was really emotional. That was actually the first time since I’ve debuted that I played reserve grade in six years, that was new to me.
“[I was] angry a little bit at myself, I just started questioning everything. I’m happy that I have good people around me, my wife and kids just kept my mind off footy for as long as it did and I just let my game do the talking.
“This is the first time in my career that I’ve had this uncertainty this late in the season but I’m just focused on playing good footy and trying to stay in the NRL to be honest.”
Despite his ISP demotion, Sue has nothing but praise for coach Ivan Cleary, suggesting his coaching tactics have actually improved his performances.
“He’s actually improved my game and pushed me out of my comfort zone and that’s a credit to his coaching,” Sue said.
“What the coach says you’ve just got to do it. You don’t want to create any more tension so whatever he said I just worked on.
“[It was] just overall stuff, just footy stuff – like body language under fatigue that was probably the biggest thing with repeat efforts. Just footy stuff, nothing out of the blue.
“He just gave me feedback on stuff to work on and I did that. That’s why I’m playing NRL now. He’s pretty straight forward so you know what you need to do and I really enjoy Ivan’s coaching.”