After a long career in the Auckland club competition, which included stints in the NSW and Queensland Cup competitions, Tulson Caird is calling an end to his playing career. We chat highlights, teammates and playing against Petero Civoniceva.
Thanks for joining us Tulson. The decision to retire, was it forced due to injuries, or completely your choice?
A bit of both! I have got a niggling hip injury which has been pissing me off for the last 3-4 years. But I have also got a young daughter now and I’m a part owner in an electrical business, , which is taking up a fair bit of my time.
I can’t give the commitment, and if I’m going to do something I want to be able to throw everything into it. I always said when I couldn’t do that I’d call time.
Your last game was the 6-0 Fox Memorial Premiership Grand Final loss to Pt Chevalier – was it hard to finish on that note?
Oh mate, definitely, definitely very hard to end on that game. I don’t think the game should have been played, there was 6-8 games on that field prior. The game should have happened somewhere else.
That final was the result of a poor field. I’m not saying we lost for that reason, I’m saying the game wasn’t what it should have been.
Looking back, what are the career highlights for you?
That 2011 year with the Vulcans was definitely a highlight, with Richie Blackmore. Richie, hands down, is the best coach I have had. I think he’s hard done by that he hasn’t gone further – he just had a way about him that everyone enjoyed their footy. He told you what he was thinking, how he wanted you to play, and if you didn’t do what he wanted, he told you and he went in a different direction.
Playing Queensland Cup for Souths Logan was a highlight too. The three Fox Grand Finals that I won. I lost three, won three, it would have been nice to have won four, lost two, but they are all highlights. Playing with Akarana and winning those comps as well.
And how about the best players you have played with?
At Fox level, Jordan Tuarae, Zac Tippins and Phil Kingi and Soape Kavaliku stand out as probably the best I have played with. Just their understanding of the game, and when we finally got them together again at Glenora it just worked. They all should have played at a higher level. Zac came through probably a year early at the Warriors, and I think he should be playing NRL.
At Vulcans, Krisnan Inu, he was a freak, Joel Moon, he was a phenomenal player who probably never got much good ball at the Warriors.
Who were the guys you really loved coming up against?
Playing against Petero Civoniceva at Queensland Cup level was a real highlight. He was playing for Redcliffe when I was playing. He’s an absolute beast, a ball of muscle. He was straight out of NRL. He finished with the Broncos in September and we played him in February. It was definitely a difficult assignment that one.
Tony Tuia as well, he was always good. We had a love-hate relationship, so he was always a good one to come up against.
How about your own career, you got to the edge of the NRL, do you ever wonder if you could have taken the next step had circumstances been different?
In different circumstances, definitely. it all could have changed. But I put everything into it through those Vulcans years. I quit my job, went and did a personal training paper so I could train. I am definitely content, it’s been fantastic. I’ll look to get into some coaching soon when I have time too.