Anthony Gelling is ready to start a new chapter in his rugby league career with the New Zealand Warriors in 2018.
The centre has played his entire professional career with the Wigan Warriors in England's Super League, but after six years in the UK, Gelling is back in the country of his birth to resume his career.
Gelling was a member of the Sydney Roosters Under 20s squad in 2009 and 2010, he then signed with the Auckland Vulcans in 2011. After a season with the Warriors reserves, he departed for Wigan where he went on to play 115 games and score 52 tries for the club.
- Warriors boss Cameron George labels New Zealand Rugby 'disrespectful'
- Adam Blair excited for opportunity to represent Warriors
The 27-year-old had been looking at getting a release from Wigan during the offseason, but, with one year left on his deal, he decided he would play out his contract before coming home. After hearing the news his girlfriend was injured in a car accident late last year in Northland, the Cook Island international didn't hesitate to return back home.
"I was hoping to come back for the start of the year but it didn't work out that way so I went back to England and I was doing my last year there and I was still 50/50," Gelling told Newshub.
"But my girlfriend that still lives here was in a bad car crash during that first month of pre-season so as soon as that happened I was on the first plane over and it made more sense to be here this year.
"All of the little reasons why I was thinking I should stay in the UK all went out the window and it made things simple that this is where I need to be."
Once Gelling was back in New Zealand, he was unsure what he would do, but the Warriors caught wind of his return and invited him to come train with the squad.
He impressed coach Stephen Kearney and as a result, the Aucklander was offered a one-year deal with the club.
Gelling knows he will have to work hard to earn a spot in the starting side, but he is hoping he can do enough to earn a contract extension.
"There's a few centres injured and stuff like that so maybe they just needed someone to hold the tackle bags," he joked.
"I've been training at centre at the moment but there are five or six of them at the moment. I'm easy, I'm flexible so I'll play anywhere.
"I just want to give it my best with my skills and whatever size I can bring to the team.
"I want to pitch in when I can and I'm still trying to get a feel for what's needed and what I need to become but I'm just happy to help out."