Sharks Locke in former Kiwi international
FIGHTING form and fitness, Kevin Locke lost the love of the game that took him to the top of international rugby league.
Now, three years removed from his last professional stint with English Super League side Wakefield, the former Kiwi International has chosen Mackay club Souths Sharks as the place to rediscover his love for the game.
But Locke has not forgotten the heady heights of the NRL. With his passion restored, he plans to do all he can to get back to the top of the rugby league tree.
And yet, although he turns 31 in April, the 152-game NRL veteran is in no rush.
"Obviously there's QCup and NRL ahead of me, but my main focus first is just playing here and I'm sure the other two will follow," Locke said.
"I'm in no rush to do it. If I was to get the opportunity to play QCup after two games, I'd definitely be saying no. My main focus is just trying to get through a full season playing A-Grade.
"I'm sure if I play how I know I can play, my ability will get me to one of those spots."
Souths have endured an off-season of significant change and coach Wayne Barnett has filled the void with young, talented pieces.
With incumbent fullback Luke Vaccaneo no longer at the club, the vacant number one jersey would fit Locke nicely.
But whether he finds a place in the one, on the wing or even as hooker, as hinted by Barnett, Locke said he was happy to "be on the same level" with his new teammates.
"For me, I want to make them feel comfortable; to be able to speak to me the way I speak to them," he said.
"I think they've already got that. Some of them have already given it to me.
"They're pretty sharp with their mouth the Aussie blokes over here. I've missed that banter of being at a footy club."
When Locke first joined the Warriors, he had Wade McKinnon and Lance Hohaia to show him the ropes. Now, as the seasoned veteran, he hopes to pass on his knowledge to the next generation.
"That's all I'm trying to do here, is pass on my experience and hopefully create that ripple effect," he said.