Former Raider, Aidan Sezer, has been entrusted with the unenviable task of being the salvation for the embattled Wests Tigers. He shared his sentiments on his second stint in the National Rugby League (NRL) after a four-season hiatus, in which he reflected on the unreconciled desolation from the regrettable defeat in the 2019 Grand Final.
“It’s a little bit bittersweet,” he recalled, “People always say you’re more hungry when you get there and lose, and I have an opportunity to right a wrong with something that still burns inside me.”
He took some time to recollect on his stint in England, which served as a momentary distraction from the sting of previous defeat, “Coming over [to England] put that on the backburner for a bit. It has been a good experience, but I’m really keen to get home,” Sezer confessed. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity to come back, first and foremost. Hopefully, I can play some good footy because the fire is still burning to get back to the NRL and at a high level.”
As Sezer gears up to fill the coveted No.7 jersey, previously sported in tandem by Luke Brooks, he prepares himself for the challenge at the age of 32. He brings with him substantial experience from the Super League, having spent the previous four years playing for Huddersfield and Leeds.
Sezer is not oblivious to the arduous task ahead, especially as most believe that newly-appointed coach Benji Marshall granted himself the ultimate challenge by assuming command of a team that had garnered the infamous 2022 wooden spoon with a repeat potentially on the horizon. In tandem with his saviour-like role, Sezer will be paired with an inexperienced half, either the budding Jayden Sullivan or the untried, Latu Fainu.
Drawing from his experience of over 200 games spanning two leagues across two countries, Sezer is primed to tackle scrutiny head-on. He said, “It comes with the territory, being the halfback of the team, the pressure that comes with that. I’m under no illusions that I’ve got some hard work ahead of me and I need to prove myself to the playing group.”
As Sezer returns from the Super League, he expressed his excitement after initially being approached by Marshall for the role, admitting his thoughts had been leaning towards home. His excitement to join the NRL again and aid in the Tiger’s pursuit of success, is clear.
However, aside from career ambitions, Sezer also hinted at his personal need for returning home, saying he had been missing life in Sydney. For him, returning to Australia presented a chance for normalcy and an escape from persistent homesickness.
Working under Marshall’s leadership ranks high on Sezer’s list of what he’s looking forward to. He is eager to learn from one of the standout halves in rugby history and working alongside experienced players like Johnny Bateman and Api [Koroisau].
Despite understanding the magnitude of the journey ahead for the Tigers, Sezer is enthusiastic and believes his contribution will make a difference. “The only way is up, isn’t it?” he shared, asserting his faith in the team’s potential to climb the ladder under Marshall’s guidance.