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Perese ready to rip in against New South Wales

Izaia Perese played for the Queensland Reds against the New South Wales Waratahs in Super Rugby but insists pulling on a XXXX Queensland Residents jersey on Sunday will mean "a lot more".

Perese, who is signed to the Brisbane Broncos after switching back to rugby league, was proud to represent the Reds in 17 Super Rugby games, but added  "I’d just say I will be more into this game than I was playing rugby union".

The 21-year-old, who has been playing Intrust Super Cup with the Redcliffe Dolphins, will line up on the wing for the XXXX Queensland Residents at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday.

"I am pumped to play in this game at Redcliffe on Sunday - I can’t wait to rip in," Perese said.

"It has been a great camp and all the boys have hit it off real well. Everyone has been gelling and bonding well and training has been sharp.

“It has been a while since I played against New South Wales and the passion is there... it is burning.

“I have played against [the Waratahs] but this means a lot more to me because the love of the game is there."

Izaia Perese during XXXX Queensland Residents camp. Photo: QRL Media
Izaia Perese during XXXX Queensland Residents camp. Photo: QRL Media

Last year former Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett gave Perese a call after finding out he was unhappy at the Reds.

One thing led to another and he eventually inked a top 30 deal with the Broncos.

"Wayne probably saw potential in me and now Seibs [Anthony Seibold] has been really good to me and very patient," Perese said.

"Seibs understands the transition between rugby and league, and that you are not going to hit it off straight away, but it feels as though I am getting in the swing of things fitness-wise and with the repeat efforts.

"It has been outstanding at the Broncos and I have loved every minute of it.

I left rugby union because I had lost the love of the game and wasn’t growing as a player, but at the Broncos I got put in an environment where I grew straight away physically, mentally and as a person as well.

"The Broncos are getting the best out of me, but it is also because I am playing the game of rugby league as well, where I am getting a lot of involvements in attack and defence.

"I wasn’t the same player at the back end of my union career, but now I am back to the player I was when I was playing league.”

Perese played most of his junior league with Stafford Brothers and played Cyril Connell Cup with Norths Devils and at Wavell State High School.

"I was pretty much a lock at club level, but when I played for Queensland I was a centre... it was good playing lock because it put me up against some of the big boys," Perese said.

"My Brothers team was pretty small and I was one of the bigger boys at lock.

"I just had a good crack and it gave me the strength of a forward with the speed of a back, which was good.”

Izaia Perese. Photo: QRL Media
Izaia Perese. Photo: QRL Media

In rugby union, Perese wasn’t getting much football out wide, but said he now was playing for Dolphins in the centres.

Perese’s childhood idols are not surprising considering his penchant for playing in the forwards and backs.

"The players I looked up to were Billy Slater and Sam Burgess,” Perese said

"I’ve loved the physicality of Sam Burgess; he has no fear with his runs and tackling. Billy Slater was just the hardest worker and always around the ball."

Perese learned a lot at the Reds and while he wasn’t enjoying his footy at the end of his time there, he said he received "a lot of help" from former Wallabies gun Quade Cooper.

"He really helped me with my knowledge and positional-wise with where I was meant to be as a winger,” Perese said.

"Quade helped me learn the game real quick."