PATRICK Mago proved he’s the man for a challenge after linking up with Wigan.
Just don’t ask him to go through multiple pre-season.
Mago joined the Warriors from the NRL South Sydney side and isn’t afraid to encounter the same things, as he did when he was younger.
As a teenager, he trained alongside heavyweight boxer Alex Leapai and as a member of Australia’s Junior Kangaroos, he faced – literally – with the Junior Kiwis’ haka in a match famous confrontation.
And the life lessons still hold true today as he embraces life in the Super League and understands Wigan.
That’s not to say he likes to be lazy for weeks of training.
Mago, 27, said: “Every day is a challenge to adapt but I have never been the one to overcome.
“I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone and I knew I was going to get something different than training with Alex.
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“You should bring that into your daily life, get yourself out of your comfort zone and go and challenge.
“Alex has done great things in boxing and his training is based on being more resilient. He told me there will be times when you feel you can’t go on but if you keep going and keep your head down, no one will doubt your attitude.
“About the haka thing, it’s not anything disrespectful. It shows more, we know they’re going to come out and show passion – we want to let them know we’re taking that challenge up with them.
“And this year at Wigan was the same, that’s why I came. I know there will be games when people will want to jump all over us.
“But if we are consistent with what we can and take control of what we can, that is the main challenge. There’s nothing we can do but be the best we want to be.
“I’m a pre-season hater, whether it’s in England or Australia, they’re always tough!
“But I like to see my body change over time, so that’s a positive thing – running up the dunes at Formby, not me.”
Prop Mago is part of a pack of Warriors that are brought together as new coach Matt Peet tries to bring them back to the Super League summit. That’s four wins from four games so far.
But while he may be on the other side of the world, some things won’t change – the word ‘aiga’ remains on his wrist. To him, family is everything.
The 27-year-old added: “I still have aiga, Samoan for my family, written on my wristband when I put the things that mean the most to me and have motivated me to pursue it.
“If a game gets tough, I can just look at it and it gives me extra motivation.”
That momentum may be needed as the Warriors wrap up their ‘tour de France’ with a visit to the Catalans Dragons after beating Toulouse 29-28.
And Perpignan boss Steve McNamara – who has welcomed five players back from injury and suspension – knows this will be a real test of his seniority.
He said, after giving his players three days off after three trips to England in four weeks: “Wigan’s games are always difficult.
“You guys always have a tough game against Wigan. We also have some old Wigan players on our team, so that always adds a bit to it. ”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4878317/wigan-warriors-patrick-mago-boxing-alex-leapai/ Patrick Mago joins Wigan fight after training with boxer to get out of ‘safe zone’