In his first six months at Cronulla, Toby Rudolf "didn't enjoy it at all", but he now wants to remain a Shark as long as possible.
After a rookie season in which he reneged on a deal with the Warriors for family reasons before inking another one-year Cronulla contract, Rudolf now hopes to extend his Sharks stay past 2021.
"I love this club, they gave me my start, they took me on even with my ACL injury as well. I'd love to stay here but if things don't work out, things don't work out," he told NRL.com.
"If that all works out then I'll be absolutely chuffed."
In the beginning, the exuberant, outgoing Rudolf - still yet to play an NRL match - struggled to bond with the group when he arrived from Redcliffe ahead of 2019 nursing a knee injury.
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"That was hard. The first six months here, I didn't enjoy it at all, to be honest," said Rudolf, who missed just one game in 2020.
"I was even speaking to Blayke Brailey about how when I first arrived, it was more the fact that I wasn't training with the boys.
"I was injured, I had the first six months by myself in the gym, I'd do my rehab running and stuff.
"It was tough, but honestly it's not the first time it's happened. It's always going to take some time going to new schools, new clubs.
"It also seems to be the way that people don't know how to take me at first. Then they realise I mean well, I'm just trying to have a laugh, and then everyone sort of comes around eventually."
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A night out at popular Cronulla watering hole Northies after Rudolf returned from his ACL injury for Newtown in the Canterbury Cup competition was the breakthrough moment.
"A few drinks later and we were all friends," Rudolf smiled.
Rudolf backed out of a three-year contract with the Warriors to stay in Sydney and support his grandmother Erika, who is fighting esophageal cancer, and mother Susan, who is legally blind.
He said the situation continues to have "ups and downs".
"At least now I'm here with them. My brother's moved back from Bali as well to help her out and help the family out.
"When he goes back, it'll just be me and Mum here probably by ourselves, and I don't really see that changing anytime soon."
The first six months here, I didn't enjoy it at allSharks forward Toby Rudolf
Having earmarked himself as a player of promise, the 25-year-old - who was recently selected in the NSW Emerging Blues squad - isn't about to rest on his laurels.
"I'm definitely not satisfied with where I'm at. I want to be in that starting team – everyone wants to be on the starting team, you don't want to be on the bench," said Rudolf, who has started in eight games.
It's not just on the field that Rudolf is making a go of things; he recently did some modelling work for clothing brand Johnny Bigg.
"I was doing some stuff for Lowes. My roommate Liam Knight, who plays at Souths, he was approached by [Johnny Bigg]," Rudolf said.
"Apparently his arse wasn’t big enough, his lower-body wasn't what they were after. They knew that I lived with him, they came to me and I said absolutely. It was a pretty cool day, getting the shoot done, getting my eyebrows, hair sprayed, getting my hair all zhooshed up.
"Cool experience and I'm keen to do some more work."