Albert Vete wants to bring Melbourne Storm’s relentless standards and team ethos to Hull Kingston Rovers in 2021.
The Tongan international saw injuries and the Storm’s star-studded squad limit him to eight appearances in two and a half years with the NRL champions.
But he says everything about Craig Bellamy’s ultra-consistent team helped him to improve as a player – and now wants to add that to a Robins side looking for major improvements this year.
Vete said: “The main thing was was them not being satisfied with where they’re at. Players weren’t satisfied with their form, the accolades that come off the back of their form, playing international or State of Origin.
“Everybody was just hungry, and it was an eye opener to see guys like Jesse Bromwich, Dale Finucane, Cameron Munster and Cameron Smith trying to get better. They’ve been at the top of their game for a very long time and it made me want to get better every day, not waste sessions and try and soak up as much as I could from the coaches.”
One team-mate that was particularly influential for Vete was giant Kiwi prop Bromwich. “I was just his shadow, watching whatever he did,” Vete said. “He’s someone who’s a real professional, doesn’t take any short cuts and ticks all the boxes.
“What he does on the field speaks for itself – he’s someone that helped me a lot with my defence and my mindset going into games.”
Vete, 28, is one of four new arrivals from the NRL for Tony Smith’s squad, alongside Korbin Sims, Brad Takairangi and England winger Ryan Hall. Vete is coming from a team that won a Grand Final to one that finished bottom of Super League.
He made six appearances in Melbourne’s title-winning campaign and didn’t feature in the play-offs, but says the way the Storm’s first choice team treated squad members was another education.
He added: “A lot of us only played a few games here and there but we did a lot of training against the team. There was no reserve grade to go back and play and a lot of the boys played one game all year.
“They were just training the whole year, turning up and trying to make the NRL boys better. It felt like a whole squad accomplishment and that’s how we were embraced by the players, the 1-17 that played.
“They were saying our group was so special – some boys, about five, didn’t play the whole year, all they did was train. But they turned up every day with a positive attitude to help the NRL boys perform each week.”