Wallabies aspirant Suliasi Vunivalu says the environment he has entered at Queensland Reds is a lot like that at the Melbourne Storm, the winger even comparing Brad Thorn with NRL guru Craig Bellamy.
Currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, Vunivalu still made the trip to Sydney for the Wallabies introductory camp where Dave Rennie and his fellow coaches have a group of 40 players at their disposal for the first time this year.
Unfortunately for Vunivalu, his injury could not have come at a worse time given he had enjoyed his best games to date in the unbeaten Reds' Round 4 and Round 6 triumphs over the Force and Waratahs respectively.
But the setback has done little to quell his enthusiasm for his new team nor his goal of pulling on the Wallabies jersey later this year, with Rennie's first 23 of the year certain to be full of Reds and Brumbies players after the two sides engaged in another gripping battle on Saturday night.
"Even the boys on the bench were like 'far out, this is the most fans that we've had," Vunivalu said of Saturday night's thriller. "If we can keep getting that, getting all the Queensland fans on the back of us, it'll be good."
After some lean years in Queensland, Thorn at last repaid the faith of Queensland Rugby Union administrators by guiding the Reds to the 2020 Super Rugby AU final.
And the 24-22 win over the Brumbies on the weekend means they will not only enjoy a week's break before this year's decider, but then also host the final at Suncorp Stadium before a potential crowd of between 30,000 and 40,000 people.
The dual international and Rugby World Cup winner has brought through a number of rising stars - many of whom are in Sydney with Vunivalu at the moment -- and hasn't been afraid of making the big calls along the way either.
And, just like the Storm's NRL success, he wants to set the club up for a period of dominance in Australian rugby.
"Thorny is pretty much like Craig, pretty old school, winning culture and stuff like that. Just hard work to get into the team which is pretty good."
The former Storm flyer had a tough initiation to rugby earlier this year when he was suspended for the team's competition opener against the Waratahs and fined $10,000 following an off-field incident in which he was alleged to have pushed a security guard.
Thorn stood by Vunivalu as he made a public apology and then helped him work through the difficult period thereafter.
"He [Thorn] just said this is just a minor setback. The only way you can get better is what you can do afterwards," Vunivalu said.
"And that's what I'm trying to do, just keep my head down and try to show on field that I'm better than that...it was really easy coming from him because he's a player himself.
"At that time I really wanted support and him talking to me was really good.
"It was hard standing in front of them, addressing them [teammates]. It's not a good look for me, just being there four weeks and that incident happened."
Vunivalu has also been working hard under the tutelage of Reds assistant coach Jim McKay, who has the Queensland backline singing.
"He's been pushing me to come and see him after training and stuff like that. I've got to thank him for that," he said.
"He's fast tracked me back into the game which is good. I'm still going into his office every day to learn all the plays and stuff like that which is good."
Vunivalu is hopeful of making his return in the Reds' final regular season Super Rugby AU in a fortnight, against the Force in Perth, which would see him earn valuable playing time before Queensland host the final on May 8th.
Strong performances in those games and then across the now confirmed trans-Tasman crossover series against New Zealand's five franchises, could then have him firmly in contention for a spot on the Wallabies wing alongside Jordan Petaia and Tom Wright, and reigning John Eales Medalist Marika Koroibete, against France come July.
"This is what all the boys that play in the Australian franchises do, they want to represent Australia and play for Australia," Vunivalu said.