SITA Akauola says seeing Wolves fans with his name on the back of their shirts gives him ‘a great rush’.

The powerful Tongan became the Wire’s first signing for 2018 in August when his arrival from Penrith Panthers on a two-year deal was confirmed.

Akauola’s signing brings much-needed depth and power to the Wolves pack and he says he has embraced life in the town.

He also says he is aware of his responsibility to the fans when he steps on the field but that they had already made an impression on him.

“Whatever club I’m representing, I’ll wear their colours when I can. It means I’m tuned in with the boys and the club,” he said.

“I’ve seen a few Akauola shirts on kids around town. It really gives me a rush to see that.

“I’m not just playing for myself, I’m playing for my teammates and the fans. I’ll give my all for them.

“I was stood on the sidelines at the Widnes game and I said to some of the boys ‘does the atmosphere get better than this?’ and they said it really did.

“If that was a trial game, I can’t imagine what a real league game would be like because the fans sounded great.”

When the 25-year-old’s signing was first announced, it looked as if he would have childhood friend Peta Hiku for company.

However, shortly afterwards, Hiku announced he would be returning to New Zealand on compassionate grounds, bringing an end to his brief stay with Wolves.

Despite this, Akauola says settling in has been very easy.

“Other than the weather, it’s been good!” he said.

“I’ve met heaps of friendly people along the way, they’ve made me feel very welcome.

“It’s probably been the easiest settling-in process I’ve had at a new club.

“Everyone has made me feel welcome. I can’t really ask for much more.”

Akauola had built a reputation for his aggressive style and explosive ball-carrying during NRL spells with the Panthers and Wests Tigers.

The 6ft 4in powerhouse, who has been capped once by Tonga, is one of many options for head coach Steve Price in a front row that appears well-stocked, but he aims to bring something different to the team.

“The power game is my game, but we’ll see what happens out on the field,” he said.

“If running the ball in off the back fence and straight into the opposition is what makes the team go forward, that’s what I’ll do.

“We’ve got a strong pack, with people like Hilly, Dom (Crosby) and Mike Cooper in that front row as well as me and a few others.

“Whether I start or come off the bench, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to be out on the field.

“Whatever the coach wants me to do, I’ll do.”

Akauola had a successful 2017 campaign in the Panthers’ reserve grade, winning the Intrust Super Premiership title, the level below the main NRL competition.

He says he can see plenty of similarities between the dressing room he has come into and the one he has just left.

“The main things about that dressing room in the Panthers reserve grade was we were all about hard work and dedication,” he said.

“It sounds easy and simple, but it was a common thing that brought us all together.

“You can see that here as well. All the boys are pulling in the same direction.

“I’m really excited but I’ve never played with anyone here so it’s difficult to judge how well we can do.

“It’s the first time I’ve worked with everybody here and they train really hard.

“If we prepare properly and keep putting in the hard work, I don’t see why we can’t do well.”