“It’s like paradise,” 23-year-old Joe Greenwood says before we start the formal part of this interview.
In fact, in the former St Helens star’s new home of the Gold Coast, on the New South Wales-Queensland border, there is an area so much “like paradise” that it has “Paradise” in its name.
Given just a few days to decide, Greenwood opted to change his life and become involved in a player swap with Titans forward Zeb Taia.
Rugby-league.com: Tell us about your try on Saturday against Newcastle. Even though it’s only round two, there are predictions it will be the try of the year, 12 pairs of hands and all.
Joe Greenwood: “It was a great, a great way to get my first-ever NRL try and getting off the nude run is always a bonus. Keeping the ball alive like that is unbelievable. Never giving in on the tackle.
“Being the last tackle, we threw the ball about … left to right, left to right and back again and then with a kick. I was there just to finish it off. Chris McQueen giving the flick for me, I just went in for the dive-over. For me to finish it off it was like an honour really.”
RLC: Your move to the Titans was very last minute. You must have some stories about how rushed everything was in regards to getting ready for it.
JG: “The week before I signed for 2018 and 2019 over here. I sorted that out and got ready for the Super League season so I could concentrate this year on Super League and then, a couple of days later, we played Leeds and had a good win against them and I got the call: ‘do you want to go over sooner, hopefully to do a swap, you and Zeb’? I was just shocked, really. It happened so quick.
“I had my mind set on next year, 2018 … didn’t think anything would happen this year. Then a couple of days later, there was a process we were going through, we both agreed on the swap … about a week later the visa’s come through, they’ve booked me a flight and said ‘right, you’re straight on’, straight over. It was a big shock but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
RLC: But surely there must have been logistical problems with your partner, accommodation, all that….
JG: “I was chucked in the deep end. I was still living with my parents back at home so the rent wasn’t an issue. My missus, she just finished university. She was offered a job over there, she was just about to start. She turned that down, she wants to start a career over here, wants to follow me around. It will be good for her as well.
“With family, I’m really close to my mum and my dad and my grandma. Yeah, it was a hard decision. I had to think about it for a few days because I could only have so much time. We all sat down and had a meal and they said ‘it’s your career at the end of the day. Go and chase your dreams. We know you’ve always wanted to do it’. Got the green light. That made me more confident to come over and do something with my rugby career.”
RLC: Tell us your first impressions when you got off the plane.
JG: “Erm, hot. Even though it probably felt cool with your summer that you’ve just had, honestly when I came off (the plane) the humidity just hit me like a brick wall. I was, like, ‘oh God, how do people actually run around in this?’ But a couple of days into it, I thought I started adapting.
“But getting off the plane, it was 28 I think … which is probably your ‘getting cooler’ and I went from two degrees snowing… which were a massive shock.”
RLC: What about when you first went to the club and started training? What was that like?
JG: “It was nervous. You’re starting a different part of your life and rugby and meeting new players, meeting new coaches. Everything is new to you and you’re on the other side of the world. But when I got there, the lads were just amazing. They were very welcoming, the coaches were as well.
“We got straight into it. At first I had a lot of media to do. We had the day off the next day and the next day I was back at training. Pretty solid… it was good, really. You weren’t thinking ‘have I made the right decision?’. Because you were straight into it, you pretty much didn’t have the time to think.
“Because you get a taste of it straight away, you just want more. Now it feels like home. It feels like I’m comfortable and the lads are great and the coach is great.”
Thanks for all the messages been very privileged. Straight into training yesterday meeting the boys having team photo and media day 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/Jw2HsPETAG— Joe Greenwood (@Joey12g) February 28, 2017
RLC: Now tell us about the 80 minutes, the game itself.
JG: “I find it a lot quicker over here because they’re drier tracks. I think it also speeds up with the two referees over here. The physical part, they’re about on par with each other.
“The main thing, what saps it out of you, what I find in the last 10, 15 minutes of the game, is the heat. The heat and the humidity get to you and I’m not used to it.
“I’ve not adapted properly yet and you can feel yourself tiring a little bit more. But yeah, it’s just a lot quicker. The track’s dry so that’s a bonus as well. You’re not playing in, like, the mud and that. It does balance it out a bit. You don’t build up as much lactic acid.”