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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 01:24 GMT
Rolling with the punches
Bradford and New Zealand star Robbie Paul
By Robbie Paul
Bradford Bulls & New Zealand

In professional sport you have to roll with punches.

I found out on Friday that I was going to be 18th man for Saturday's game against Great Britain and there was two ways I could have dealt with that.

Vinnie Anderson

I could either throw a strop, but I'm just not that type of guy, or do what my job is and prepare properly for this game.

If someone fell sick or got injured overnight I had to be ready and I'm a professional person in that respect.

I get frustrated sometimes and it was disappointing not to be in the squad but people who know me will tell you I always have a smile on my face.

The games marked the end of the season and, make no mistake, I'm really looking forward to this off-season.

I had to adjust to a new position this season playing hooker for the Bradford Bulls without the benefit of a pre-season. I missed the whole of that because I had to have a bone graft on my arm and it was very frustrating.

And then I carried an injury all season long, but I had no choice but to just knuckle and get on with it.

This off-season will give me the opportunity to improve on what I already do.

I've got some goals to achieve next year and it starts next week with my pre-season training.

It's probably one of the youngest New Zealand teams we have ever put together

I might have to put on a little bit more weight if I'm going to play hooker and I have to speak to club coach Brian Noble as to what my role is and where he sees me over the next couple of years with Bradford Bulls.

I'm contracted there until 2006 and no one is getting any younger.

Obviously getting back my Kiwi jersey is one of my goals.

Looking at some of the guys in the NZ camp during this series has made me realise we have some amazing athletes and now I know where I have to take my game to stay at the top of rugby league.

As for the 26-24 defeat, I thought we dropped off in the second half and allowed the opposition the opportunity to win the game, which they did.

There have definitely been a lot of new players in the team for NZ and that is something we talked about on Friday night.

Everybody stood up and said their piece and one of the things I mentioned was that apart from a handful of senior players in the squad it is probably one of the youngest NZ teams we have ever put together and that the young guys are the future of New Zealand rugby league.

But it is difficult for me to comment on the game because I was watching from the stands.

When that happens I tend to watch as a spectator and not be particularly analytical.

I never want to be a coach and that is the reason why.




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