Queensland Reds sensation Izaia Perese signed a train-and-trial deal with the Brisbane Broncos late last year and has since elected to return to rugby league in a bid to chase his childhood dream of one day becoming a professional NRL player.
Perese grew up playing rugby league and has always had a desire to one day return to the rugby league field.
The Brisbane-born outside back played rugby union throughout his time at Anglican Church Grammar School - Churchie - and won a Brisbane GPS title alongside fellow rugby league stars Kalyn Ponga, Jaydn Su’a and Brodie Croft.
Perese has spent the past few months of NRL pre-season training with the Brisbane Broncos and has thoroughly enjoyed his time training under new head coach Anthony Seibold.
“It’s been unreal training with the Broncos,” Perese said.
“Seibs (Anthony Seibold) is a very smart coach and he’s been helping me work on my game.
“The intensity is on another level and it’s been quite a shock to the body."
“I grew up playing rugby league from a young age and I always loved the speed of the game,” Perese said.
“I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for, to be sitting out on a wing in union and touch the ball once or twice a game.
“I knew it was an obvious decision to come back to a game that I know and love, and I grew up playing”.
As part of Brisbane Broncos affiliate agreement, Perese will play for Redcliffe in the Intrust Super Cup, and has since played his first match for the Dolphins in a trial game against Souths Logan on February 23.
Although Redcliffe weren’t able to get the win, the 21-year-old was impressive in his first hit-out, crossing for a try in the 59th minute.
“I was really excited to be named to play in the game against Souths Logan,” Perese said.
“I haven’t felt that sort of excitement about a game of footy in a long time.”
Perese said he was looking to find some form in the Intrust Super Cup in 2019 and was excited to be a part of a strong club with a rich history.
“Whilst I’m with Redcliffe I really want to be able to work on my game,” Perese said.
“There’s no way I’m going to be given a go immediately with the Broncos, so I need to go out and do my job for the Dolphins.
“This year I’m just looking to play consistent footy for Redcliffe and just enjoy myself."
Redcliffe Dolphins centre Kotoni Staggs has also been training the house down with the Broncos in the pre-season and will be looking to lock down a spot in the Broncos 17 for Round 1.
This presents an opportunity for Perese, who is looking to push his claim for a centre spot with the Dolphins.
“Ideally I want to play centre - it’s my preferred position,” Perese said.
“However, I’ve said to Moggy (Adam Mogg) I’m happy to play anywhere.
“Forwards or backs - I’ll give it a red-hot go."
Match: Pride v Dolphins
Round 1 -
Venue: Barlow Park, Cairns