Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 23: Nick Kouparitsas

Former Canterbury Bulldogs forward Nick Kouparitsas

This time, we had a chat with former Sydney Roosters, Canterbury Bulldogs forward and Greek international, Nick Kouparitsas. 

The proud Greek will talk about rugby league life, what it meant to play for Greece, post-footy and more.

Just another insight into the life of a rugby league player so sit back, soak it in and enjoy.

Here are the questions we put to Nick Kouparitsas:

1. You were born in Canberra; what are your earliest memories of rugby league in the nation’s capital? 

My earliest memories definitely was the cold mornings.

I remember the younger you were, the earlier on Sunday mornings you played so most Sunday’s you were first on the oval and the fields were covered in frost and fog.

But we all loved it. I played for West Belconnen Warriors throughout all my junior footy.

2. In 2001, you made an appearance for the Australian Schoolboys side; describe to us how it felt to make that side.

It was a great feeling.

We had a pretty good side too with a few of the players going on to represent Australia at senior level also.

The traveling English team was supposed to be the best they had sent in years.

I am pretty sure they had players in the team that were playing regular first grade in the Super League at the time.

We beat them both games.

Nick Kouparitsas in his playing days for the Sydney Roosters

3. You had stints in the NRL with both the Canterbury Bulldogs and Sydney Roosters; what was it like to play in the NRL and did you think you would play for over 5 years? 

Playing in the NRL was my dream and growing up, that is all I wanted to do.

I used to think to myself I would be happy to play just one NRL game.

Then when I got my first taste of it I didn’t want to go back to reserve grade.

I was lucky to debut during the Origin period.

At the Bulldogs, we had a fair few players out representing so I got my opportunity.

It was against the Raiders, I don’t think I had a very good game.

4. You then joined Harlequins (now the London Broncos); what prompted the move to England and how did the English game differ from the NRL at the time?

It was 2010 and I was at the Roosters. We made the GF and lost.
I didn’t take part in the final and could tell the Roosters were not going to re-sign me.
We had Brian Smith as a coach, technically a great coach, but he was hot and cold as a man manager.
He used to say and do some pretty strange things.
I had my manager look around and he asked if OS was an option and it went from there. 
The English game is very different. It didn’t seem as structured but it was also slower.
We had some great players in our team but the Harlequins were a poor club, we didn’t have much depth and we suffered.
The best thing about the Super League is the ‘player loan system.’
We had some guys from Wigan who couldn’t crack their first grade side and they were loaned to us which helped.
I think the NRL should adopt the same system.
Former Sydney Roosters forward Nick Kouparitsas
5. You represented Greece on several occasions; what was it like to don the Greek colours?
I loved it. We had so much fun in training and in our games.
We had some really good players that never got the chance to play first grade but they lifted for Greece. It was a really enjoyable time.
I remember the games against Italy and Malta were physical and there were a few good punch ups too.
I played in the Greek team with both of my brothers which was a real highlight of my time playing league.
6. We noticed that you now work in real estate; tell us a bit about what you do and why you chose to move into real estate.
Yes, I have been in real estate for 7 years now, very similar to pro sports.

There is flexibility and you get out what you put in, a lot of ups and downs but I love it. 
7. Finally, what advice do you have for budding rugby league players? 
That is a tough question.
I guess looking back, play every game like it is your last because it may not feel like it at the time but it does end.
Nick Kouparitsas post-footy

 

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