The Dyldam Parramatta Eels signed talented utility Brad Takairangi in late 2014 and the 25 year old has made an early impression on the Blue and Gold during his short stay.
With 68 first grade games under his belt, having previously played at the Sydney Roosters and more recently at the Gold Coast Titans, Takairangi has welcomed the opportunity to return home to Sydney and cement his spot in a young but talented backline looking to prove itself in the NRL.
“I am really loving it here at the Blue and Gold,” Takairangi said.
“The boys have been really good and really welcoming and I have really enjoyed it” he added.
Whilst the return to Sydney did not go according to Takairangi’s original plans, it has been a ‘blessing in disguise’.
After signing a three-year deal with the West Tigers, the club backflipped and he was left without a contract in the NRL. The Eels signed Takairangi on a one-year deal, and the lifeline has been rewarding for all involved with Takairangi reunited with some familiar faces and has seen continual improvements to his game under Head Coach Brad Arthur during the pre-season.
“I had a deal with the Wests Tigers which ended up falling through which has been a blessing in disguise for me,” Takairangi said.
“I am really loving my time here at Parramatta and Brad Arthur is an awesome coach and it’s great to be with him.”
“I actually played Under 20s a few years ago with Peatsy (Nathan Peats) and Chrissy (Chris Sandow) at Souths so knowing a few of the boys has made the transition easier.”
And whilst Takairangi re-unites with a few players on the field, the utility footballer was eager to work again with much loved Assistant Coach Steve Murphy (former Gold Coast Titans assistant coach).
“It’s awesome to be back here with ‘Murph’ and knowing the coaching staff helps,” Takairangi said.
“He is a great coach and brings a lot of fresh ideas which is really good for us.”
Brad won't be the first Takairangi to run out in Blue and Gold, either. Dad Louis played three games on the wing for the club in 1987, an achievement that is quite special to the father and son pairing.
“He has told me a lot about himself playing for the Parramatta Eels!” Takairangi said.
“I’m not too sure how many games he actually played but to be able to follow in his footsteps and play for Parramatta is pretty special for the both of us.”
“There is a lot of competition at every team you go to and it’s no different here at Parramatta. We have Beau Champion, Ryan Morgan and Vai Toutai along with youngsters like John Folau coming through so it keeps everyone on their toes and it keeps everyone training hard”
The talented footballer is not getting ahead of himself though by not looking too far into the future.
Takairangi is focused on the preparing the best he can during the pre-season and impressing during the Eels trial games in the hopes that he will cement his spot during 2015.
“To get a starting centre spot is one of my goals for the year.”
“I was lucky enough to make the train on squad for the Kiwis in 2014, and to put the Black jumper on was an honour and as well as the Blue and Gold will be this year.”