By STEVE MASCORD
STAR Wigan signing Eddy Pettybourne has revealed his season at Wests Tigers last year left him so depressed he asked his family to stay away from NRL games in which he was playing.
Pettybourne, 25, made his competitive debut for the Super League champions in Friday night’s competition opener against Huddersfield before jetting back to Australasia for the World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters on February 22 and a warm-up against the Warriors 10 days earlier.
Eligible for Australia, New Zealand, Samoa and the team he played for in the 2013 World Cup, the United States, Pettybourne said his sole season with Wests Tigers had been a difficult experience.
“I signed under Tim Sheens and obviously he got the sack,” he told Fairfax Media. “I had my plans ready with him. It was kind of hard coming in.
“Mick Potter was a good coach but he just wasn’t probably my style.
“There were times there that I was broken mentally, wasn’t playing good footy. Everything else was just piling up. There are times there when it was stressful.
“It was getting to the point where I was telling my family ‘don’t come to the games’ and that. My mum and dad, they love coming to watch footy – they’re Rabbitohs fans.
“They were always there for me, when I was in the dumps. I was telling my family ‘just stay home, watch it on TV’. You’re in the hole, you think there’s no point. It’s tough, that’s just life I guess.
“I was finding it pretty hard at the Tigers – just getting in the team was pretty tough.
“It was a good experience, working under Mick Potter. It just wasn’t my style, I wasn’t playing good footy over there and he’s given me the opportunity to come here.”
Pettybourne went into a Florida training camp underdone but believes he is up to speed and ready for the season ahead. The call-up to the US, due to his mother’s American Samoa background, gave him the opportunity to check out the set-up at DW Stadium.
He was impressed, and fills the boots of Parramatta-bound Lee Mossop.
The South Sydney junior, who was called up for the Kiwis in 2009 but did not play, had fans chanting his name after a couple of big hits in a pre-season game against St Helens last Friday.
“I’ve got an opportunity to go back to the NRL and prove I can play footy,” he said.
“That’s a big part of it – but seeing my family be there and support me, that’s probably going to drive me more.”
Filed for: SUN-HERALD