AFTER making an impressive start to life as a Bradford Bull, loanee Antonio Kaufusi is relishing the prospect of being reunited with a close friend and former team-mate.
Kaufusi, 29, has previously played alongside Bulls front-rower Manase Manuokafoa, for both club and country, with North Queensland Cowboys and Tonga respectively.
Manuokafoa is contention to make a comeback this weekend as Bradford welcome St Helens to The Provident Stadium, having been ruled out of his side's 34-28 victory over Warrington Wolves with a hamstring injury.
And former Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights and London Broncos star Kaufusi, who joined the Bulls last week, is hopeful of lining up alongside his 2008 World Cup colleague.
“I know 'Nas' really well and he is a very talented player,” said Kaufusi, who appeared for Australia during the 2006 Tri-Nations series.
“I played with him at North Queensland and then we had a spell together for Tonga, in the 2008 World Cup. We are really good mates.
“He himself is looking pretty good, so hopefully he can prove his fitness this week.
“It would be really exciting to run out and play with him again.
“Manase was a big part of the reason I came here and I just want to kick on now and do my bit for the team.”
Kaufusi started on Sunday, as Francis Cummins' men went to war with Warrington, and he made his presence felt from the outset.
The Huddersfield-owned forward, who arrived at the Giants during the closed season following a two-year stint with London, says he thrived on the atmosphere generated last time out and has spoken of a desire to enjoy more of the same this coming weekend.
“It was short notice to come into the team but the boys made me feel really welcome,” added Kaufusi, who is being proudly sponsored by Synergy People Solutions.
“I was really pleased to help the boys get what was a massive result, which certainly shocked a fair few people.
"I was happy with the way Francis (Cummins) wanted me to play in two separate stints – in both halves – and it worked out really well.
"The atmosphere was absolutely superb. I did not really realise what the buzz was like until we had won because your focus is solely on the game.
“But I looked around afterwards and everyone was elated, which was great for the club and even better to see.
“Now we just want to kick on and continue from where we left off last weekend."
Meanwhile, Australian Brett Kearney will today undergo surgery to repair a fractured thumb.
The former NRL star suffered the setback during the first half of last Sunday's victory over the Wolves and will be sidelined for eight to ten weeks as a result.
Tickets for this weekend's First Utility Super League visit of St Helens are still available, priced at £20 (adults), £15 (concessions) and £10 (juniors) - (based on terrace admission).
To secure your place, simply call us on 08448 711 490 NOW or book via e-mail by CLICKING HERE.