'I don't feel any pressure' insists York City Knights prop forward Pauli Pauli

·3-min read
York City Knights prop forward Pauli Pauli takes on the Dewsbury Rams line. Picture: Craig Hawkhead
York City Knights prop forward Pauli Pauli takes on the Dewsbury Rams line. Picture: Craig Hawkhead

WHEN York City Knights unveiled the signing of Pauli Pauli in October, the move took almost every Knights supporter by surprise.

Just two completed seasons since competing in Betfred League One, York had secured a deal with a former NRL, Betfred Super League and Combined Nations All Stars forward still in his 20s.

Through his rampaging runs as a middle, best described as creating “absolute carnage”, to quote head coach James Ford from the club’s ‘In The Sheds’ documentary series, Pauli quickly established himself as both a York fans favourite and a target for opposition supporters.

As a big-name player in the Betfred Championship with a renowned reputation and often the most loved or jeered player from the stands, depending on which section you are seated in, there is plenty riding on Pauli’s shoulders.

“I enjoy that pressure,” said the prop forward. “When I play, I’m always joking around with opposition players and I just laugh at them when they try and test me.

“There’s no pressure at all. I just go out there and do my job and hopefully at the end of the game we get the win.

“The fans make the game. The more fans we can bring in, the better it will be for us.

“If they want to take the mick out of me, that’s a good thing, I enjoy it.”

After a brief middling stint in the back-row at the start of the season, Pauli has been best utilised as a powerhouse front-rower whose minutes have been limited to ensure his every carry tests the opposition’s defensive line.

While his aggressive approach has brought plenty of joy in attack, the New South Wales man has picked up numerous suspensions through the course of the campaign.

With that said, Pauli was harshly penalised for a shoulder charge in Sunday’s 22-10 win at Dewsbury Rams.

“I don’t really want to say much about it,” he laughed of the incident. “I didn’t think it was a shoulder charge and I think I’m getting pinged for a lot of things that I shouldn’t be getting done for.

“But the referees are watching my game and trying to make sure I get better in those areas.

“Props to the referees, they’re doing their studies to stop players getting injured.

“But I don’t think it was a shoulder charge though.”

After almost a decade in the top-flight, Pauli insists that he is relishing life as a Championship player.

“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “At this club, everyone has gelled together and we can all talk to each other and get along.

“As the season has gone on, everyone has got a lot closer and by the end of the season we’re hoping we can put some results together.

“I feel a lot more comfortable here and Fordy and the boys have made me feel welcome.

“Fordy’s a rugby-head and he loves his football. Every time you speak to him, he’s talking about rugby. He’s a smart coach and a good family man too.

“He’s really genuine towards his players and gets the best out of everyone.”

Next up for the Knights is a clash with Bradford Bulls on Monday night (7.45pm), with Pauli set for his first taste of the rivalry having missed the May trip to Odsal through suspension.

He said: “I’ve not played against them yet but from what I’ve heard it’s a big rivalry between Bradford and York, so I’m excited to get out on the field against Bradford and see what all the talk is about.

“They’re a tough team and I’m sure both teams will be looking to put out good performances.”