Billy Magoulias has been running with the Warrington Wolves over in the United Kingdom for a few weeks now after being signed for the team’s 2022 season.

The 24-year-old former NRL forward also had a hand in helping Greece qualify for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup (now been postponed to late 2022) and follows in the footsteps of Greece’s national coach Steve Georgiallis, who played for the Wolves in 2001.

“It’s been very exciting. I spoke to my manager about few options and he thought it would be a good idea to play in the top-class competition over here,” Magoulias told Neos Kosmos. 

The rugby player’s Greek heritage trails from the mainland to the idyllic islands, with his grandparents hailing from Samos, Macedonia and Kalymnos.

It’s not often you see many rugby league players with Greek heritage out on the field, at one point Magoulias was the only NRL player with Greek heritage before South Sydney rookies Peter Mamouzelos and Lachlan Ilias made their debut.

The love for the game came from his father, who he said did not get to play seriously growing up.

“My dad always liked the game and he grew up in Redfern. He was always playing but not with a team as his parents wouldn’t let him, but he liked the game, then I ended up playing it,” Magoulias explained.

“His head is screwed on and he’s helping with heaps of things. Since I was young, he had made the decision to help me play league and then ongoing always supported my education. He looked after the house and always worked for us.”

Magoulias talks about the future of his career, hopes to play consistently and reflections of the past.

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Former Cronulla Sharks player Billy Magoulias during an NRL training session in 2020 Photo: AAP via Joel Carrett

What drew you to rugby league?

I started playing when I was four years old, with a local team called the Mascot Jets. I basically went down there and played a couple seasons and just really like playing this sport. I continue playing all the way through to when I was about 16. Then there were a lot of representative teams I played for. Then I got picked up by the Cronulla Sharks from the age of 15 all the way to last year at 24 and then just signed overseas this year.

It’s game day, what do you do to get in the zone before the match?

I’m pretty simple, I like to sleep in if it’s a night game and then I just take my time getting to the game. I prepare with some rolls and some stretching before I go there. I just eat some food and keep it pretty simple. I don’t really have any set routines, I just clean my boots before I go.

Top three training songs?

I don’t even know because I don’t even control the playlist. We have a playlist that we’re not allowed to touch because everyone mucks around with it all during the session. Basically, it’s just whatever’s on but most of the time you’re too tired to remember.

What do you find most challenging about the game?

The week-to-week grind or playing and backing up. Your body gets pretty sore week to week and then once you get about halfway through the season and then you start to feel a bit tired and sore and you have to start playing with little niggling injuries and things like that. So that’s probably the toughest just the duration of it, the week after week.

What has been a highlight in your sporting career thus far?

There’s been some cool things like playing representative games when I was younger. I played for New South Wales, won a school competition at my school playing, obviously debuting in the NRL, winning the competition with the Newtown Jets in 2019. There are a few things that have been quite exciting and milestone things that have happened after working hard.

How has rugby league impacted your life?

It’s been a pretty big part of it, it’s been my job since I was like 15, 16 and being paid to do it. It’s something I enjoy. It’s played a big part so far and hopefully it does for the next seven, eight, nine ten years or so.

What is something you learned about yourself through playing the game?

It’s a tough game. I feel that you’ve got to be quite mentally strong. Physically you have to be pretty disciplined and look after yourself, train very hard. Training is such a major part of it and just rocking up, day in, day out even when things aren’t going your way or whatever the case may be. So that’s probably the number one thing I’ve learnt from it.

What do you hope to achieve in the next year?

I hoping to win the competition over here with the Wolves. Trying to secure an extension on my contract would be one, and just play well, perform well and see what happens after that.

Billy Magoulias is hoping to bring home a win with his new team the Warrington Wolves Photo: Warrington Wolves Facebook

What’s something someone might be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve completed a degree, that’s probably something they wouldn’t know about me. I’ve done some study. I’ve completed my bachelors in business at university while playing footy. I had to put a pause on it for now, but I started my MBA as well.

I just enjoyed it and I was good at it at school. It was one of my favourite subjects so I thought I’d just give it a go at university, and then obviously once you get into uni you start to see all the different parts of it and I enjoyed doing it. I just thought it’d be something that I could look at after football.

Favourite way to unwind after a game?

I just like coming home and resting, and of course having something to eat. I don’t do too much, I can’t celebrate after every game because I have another game the next week and you have to stay quite disciplined. I just enjoy some crap food and get ready again for the next week.

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?

I hope I’ll be playing consistently and showing what I can do on a consistent basis, which I haven’t had the opportunity to do back in Australia. I came off a really good season in the feeder team and then COVID hit the year after and probably hindered my progress a bit, but I’m glad to be getting back into it.

What is something you want to be remembered by?

Just as someone that trained hard, put in effort and committed to the craft and what I was doing when I was playing.  I’d also like to make that impact when I’m not playing and doing other things as well. I don’t want to be a person who just relies on that [rugby league].