Josh Adu-Dwumaa had no intentions of playing rugby league.
Nor did the young Manchester United fan even know the rules.
But aged 11, Adu-Dwumma took up an invitation with a couple of his school mates in England’s central west and a dozen years on he hasn’t looked back.
“It was quite funny to be fair, I was always just into sprinting and soccer back home,” the Cessnock Goannas winger said.
“Two of my best friends in primary school, they were big rugby league fans. I was always quick as a child so they were like you should come down and have a run out. I didn’t even have a pair of boots or anything.
“I went down to the club and they said we’ve got a tournament tomorrow if you want to jump in and play that, even though I didn’t know how to play the game or any of the rules.
“So I just turned up and literally ran around everybody. They were like keep coming and we’ll train you up, teach you to play and see how you go. It all stemmed from there and I’ve played ever since.”
His journey beyond that unexpected introduction has featured two English Super League clubs – the Warrington Wolves in under 17s followed by a couple of campaigns for the Leigh Centurions under 20s.
More recently Adu-Dwumaa has played for hometown Leigh East, located four hours north of London but between Liverpool and Manchester, in National Conference League Division 2.
It was there the now 23-year-old met Cessnock captain-coach Al Lantry, who took the reins for 2018 after returning to the Hunter region from Europe, and Goannas prop Kori Barber.
“When Al and Kori came over together they played with us [Leigh East] for a season,” Adu-Dwumaa said.
“Al always said if you ever want to come over [to Australia] you should definitely play with us [Cessnock].
“Once he got the job he asked me to come down and I wasn’t too committed to any work so I thought if I was ever going to do it, the time was now, and I jumped at the opportunity.”
Adu-Dwumaa made the most of his first chance, scoring a try on debut in Cessnock’s season-opening 20-6 victory over more-fancied Western Suburbs at Harker Oval last month.
“I’d only just arrived and they wanted me to play that week,” he said.
“I think it was from Carts [Paul Carter], I got a nice little off load and put the ball under my arm and got the try. Couldn’t have been happier with a try on the debut.”
Adu-Dwumaa is working in Tomago and living at Wallsend, next door to Lantry and with Cessnock teammate Alex Mammone.
The Goannas are away to Macquarie on Saturday.