St Helens beckons for Yamba's Luke Douglas
RUGBY LEAGUE: After 11 years playing in the top rugby league competition in the world Yamba's Luke Douglas is ready to take his experience and knowledge abroad as he starts a three-year stint with St Helens in the English Super League competition next year.
The Scottish international who has only just returned to Australia's shores after playing in the Four Nations competition against rugby league heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and England was already beginning the pack up of boxes at dad Chris' house in Yamba at the weekend.
It will be a far cry from the golden sands and perfect weather of his former home at the Gold Coast Titans when he starts life in the cold and miserable north of England at St Helens after Christmas.
But not even the idea of terrible weather can stop the proud Douglas as he prepares to bring all he has to the Super League giants.
"Hopefully I can play some good footy and contribute because it is a pretty good side at St Helens and they have recruited well for next season," he said.
"It has always been a successful club both on the field and off it and you know you are going to be thereabouts come final time.
"I just want to be able to add to that team and do what I can. I always wanted to go over there, I have been over there a few times with Scotland and really enjoyed the atmosphere."
Douglas walked out on the final year of his contract at the Titans after consultation with his manager Steve Gillis when St Helens tabled a lucrative three-year deal.
"I thought I would always head over there, and not that is too soon, but just was not expecting to go so quick," he said.
"(Gold Coast) was a great club and I love that part of the world, it is sort of one of the reasons I came back there from the Sharks in the first place. It's close to the Clarence, close to Yamba and close to Dad.
"I am jealous of their new facilities and they are starting to hit some good straps. They have fixed the off-field issues and have made a few big signings and are really looking a threat next season. It will be a shame to not be a part of that but I will always be a Titans fan for life."
Douglas was an integral member of the Scotland outfit that held former world No.1 New Zealand to an 18-all draw at Workington during the Four Nations. It was a historic encounter for the Scots being the first time an 'invited nation' had taken away any points in the competition's history.
For the front-rower it was a chance for the proud nation to earn some much-deserved respect on the rugby league field.
"We gained a little bit of respect from that result," he said.
"A lot of people said before the contest that we didn't belong in the Four Nations but hopefully now they realise we do.
"The first couple of games sort of slipped away from us but I reckon we can match it with a lot of teams and we can be as competitive as other teams."
Douglas said the horrid conditions, including a gale-force wind at the Workington venue definitely played into the hands of the Scottish side with half Danny Brough taking full advantage.
"We knew it was going to be horrid, we knew the field was going to be narrow and short and we embraced that and toiled hard for the full 80 minutes and snuck away with a draw," he said.
"They were the No.1 ranked team in the world at that stage and we were back in ninth. We have actually leap-frogged a few and are now fourth."
Douglas will remain in Yamba for the next few weeks as he packs up his life into boxes before he makes the move with wife Adele and newborn son Archie.