NSW back-rower Tyson Frizell has revealed how a frank conversation with Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien about not fulfilling his potential was the major reason behind his decision to leave St George Illawarra for the Knights.
Frizell credits a meeting with O’Brien back in late February for convincing him to take the punt and depart the Dragons after eight seasons.
He concedes he became comfortable at St George Illawarra and needed a change to ignite his career.
Luckily, O’Brien felt the same way and Frizell needed little prompting to pen a three-year deal with the Knights.
“I came away from that meeting with Adam feeling good and it was what got me across the line in the end,” Frizell said.
“I want to keep developing as a player and he agreed. He told me there is more in me and I can do a lot more.
“He wasn’t really telling me how good I was, but I was really happy to hear that from Adam.
“It was nice to get an outside opinion from someone that I haven’t had as much to do with.”
Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien played a major role in luring NSW back-rower Tyson Frizell to the Knights from St George Illawarra. Photo: Tony Feder/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
At 29 with 10 NRL seasons to his name, Frizell feels like he is at a crucial junction in his career.
Sure, he has enjoyed success on the Origin and Test stage but he is yet to win a premiership.
This is largely why he wanted to jump off the ledge and leave the Dragons for a new opportunity at Newcastle.
“I’m at a point in my career where I really wanted to stay at the Dragons, but I felt like I needed a change if I wanted to grow as a player,” he said.
“Sometimes you can do that at one club, but for me personally, a change out of Sydney is something that I wanted.
“I didn’t look too further at other clubs, and I knew Newcastle was the only fit for me if I was to move on from the Dragons.
“I also have to pack up everything and start fresh. I don’t really know too many of the boys other than Pearce and Klemmer after playing Origin with them.
Tyson Frizell is looking forward to a new challenge at Newcastle. Picture: Matt King/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“There is still a bit of the unknown about how things are going to go, but it is a new challenge and probably the fresh start that I needed at this time of my career.
“I’m still looking to become better as a player and improve, and I guess change can sometimes bring that.”
Frizell is also pumped about the prospect of linking with such a proud club like Newcastle.
He has fond memories of watching the Knights win premierships as a junior coming through the ranks, and now he wants to play his part in helping the club return to its glory years.
“I know the club’s history and what those guys (like Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus) have done for the club,” he said.
“Also, what kind of town Newcastle is. I was a young kid coming through and I got to see how successful they were in a town like that and how inspirational they were for the community.
“It is cool to see and that is something the club can achieve down the track.
“If we can get lucky, hopefully that can happen in the next few years for Newcastle.”
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