The Fast Lane
It’s been tireless times for Shaun Lane, who in the space of two weeks was told a New Zealand Warriors offer was on the cards, signed with the club, touched down in his new hometown, had three training sessions, and completed the 4300km round-journey in an Intrust Super Premiership NSW match at North Sydney Oval.
Lane broke onto the NRL scene in Round 14 for the Canterbury Bulldogs last season against the Gold Coast Titans, and made an immediate impact in his first game starting at second-row just two weeks later against the Melbourne Storm at Belmore Oval.
Though - due to lack of opportunity at the club – Lane promptly decided in order to add to his 14 NRL matches, he would sign with the Warriors, and in doing so was part of a player swap between him and Raymond Faitala-Mariner.
“[The Warriors] gave me the opportunity and it was a good scenario for both clubs for the trade to happen, now I’ve got a good opportunity here to make a name for myself and hopefully get some time in [first] grade,” Lane told NSWRL.com.au.
“About two weeks ago I knew [the player swap] possibly could of happened, and then [on the] Wednesday I got told it’s definitely on the cards, and that they needed a decision within the next two days,” Lane told NSWRL.com.au.
“I had my last day of Bulldogs training the day after that, said goodbye to all the boys and I was packing my bags and off two or three days later.”
Lane arrived in his new home country early last week, but was given no time to put his feet up and settle in.
“It was pretty weird because I told all the family that I’ll see them in a couple of months, then straight away on the second day I was there I got named to play [an Intrust Super Premiership NSW match] back here in North Sydney,” Lane said.
“We’ve got a really good [Intrust Super Premiership NSW] team here, there’s a lot of first grade experience so it was good to get amongst it and get a first crack in a Warriors jersey.”
“I’m not really homesick or anything yet, it was good to come back over.”
The Warriors brushed off a tight defeat to the Wentworthville Magpies last weekend to dominate the North Sydney Bears 30-12 earlier today, and Lane certainly impressed in his first hit-out.
He only had three training sessions with his new teammates and admitted it was difficult to learn everyone’s name, but the influence of New Zealand legend Stacey Jones in the coaching ranks proved to be extremely positive.
“[Jones] is a legend, not just on the field, but off the field he’s a really great bloke, he’s nice and relaxed and he just knows what the players want and what needs to be said to them to get them to play a good game,” Lane said.
“If I do come back down here from time to time to play with the [Intrust Super Premiership NSW] boys I know I’m in good hands with Stacey.”
The amount of Intrust Super Premiership NSW matches Lane will play this season is unknown, as the reason for the move was for NRL experience.
The Warriors NRL team includes the likes of Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke, a pairing of players than Lane simply cannot wait to join forces with.
“They’re definitely unique players, you can’t say you’ve trained with people like that every day,” Lane said.
“The Bulldogs are a bit different style of play, they’re a bit more structured so I’m going to have to get used to the off-the-cuff play of Issac and Shaun, but once I get the hang of it it’ll be a pleasure running off blokes like that.”
In what is an ironic twist, the Warriors NRL side are playing the Bulldogs in Wellington next weekend, and Lane getting called up to the side would certainly add a lot of extra interest in the clash.