Josh Addo-Carr is adamant his bumper contract with Canterbury won’t be a distraction from the task of helping Melbourne Storm defend their NRL premiership this season.
The Bulldogs landed the hottest signature in the competition when they lured Addo-Carr on a four-year deal worth about $500,000 a season, starting in 2022.
It is one year later than the NSW and Australia flyer had originally hoped to move closer to his Sydney family and home.
But Addo-Carr said time spent in the Queensland hub during the coronavirus-hit 2020 season had been a blessing in disguise and is excited about the Storm’s prospects this year.
“I’m just glad it’s settled,” Addo-Carr said of his future on Thursday.
“I would’ve liked to have been home a bit earlier but being away up in Twin Waters (last year) probably refreshed my mind a bit, being away from Melbourne, but it is what it is.
“I enjoy coming to training with the boys and being around the boys and the coaching staff.”
Storm lost Suliasu Vunivalu to Super Rugby following last year’s grand-final win over Penrith and are yet to receive clarity over club great Cameron Smith’s future.
Harry Grant and Brandon Smith are in a battle to replace the 430-game legend at hooker and Addo-Carr has no doubt Storm can contend again this season.
“The No.1 goal is to lift that trophy again and that’s why we’re doing the pre-season, to set the year up,” Addo-Carr said.
“New season, new year, new team – all we’ve got to do is keep training hard and focus.
“The pre-season builds your year and everyone’s had a great pre-season so far.
“There’s a lot of guys still in the team from last year.
“Suli’s a big loss and Cam’s a massive loss as well, but we’ve just got to adjust and adapt.”
Addo-Carr backed former Bulldog Reimis Smith to take over Vunivalu’s spot on the opposite wing and feels for Grant and the younger Smith as they chase the starting hooker spot.
“It’s an extremely difficult situation for both of them but there’s only one No.9 that has to be on the field,” Addo-Carr said.
“I’m sure (coach Craig Bellamy) and the coaching staff will pick that player.
“They’re both extremely good players … and it’s going to be a very tough decision.”
Addo-Carr spent Christmas in Sydney and was stuck in NSW after the Victorian border closed.
He trained with Storm teammate George Jennings under Wallabies assistant coach Scott Wisemantel on the NSW north coast before returning to Melbourne this month.