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Every cloud has a silver (fern) lining

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When we were coming to terms with the news at Steve Mafi had played his last game for the Tigers, it seemed impossible to believe he would be replaced by a World Cup winner.

Mafi came from nowhere to become a firm favourite with the Tigers faithful, his telescopic reach, his pace on the ball and his miraculous handling in possession made him a top-class operator in the red, white and green.
For a quiet and modest man he saved many of his biggest performances for the biggest stage, with a man-of-the-match performance in a Cup Final, a fully-deserved semi-final try in front of his legions of fans at Welford Road and many others besides.
The infectious smile from the gentle giant became a feature of big days with the Tigers Family.
Alas, he is now back in Australia and unlikely to grace the Welford Road pitch again.
In professional sport, though, there is no such thing as a chance to stand still. Mafi gone, Cockers and Co had to find a top-class replacement. And with the season rapidly approaching there could not have been many available and waiting to be offered a contract.
Bard Thorn, a man with more honours to his name than you could shake a stick it, stepped up.
A dual code international, 20 years in professional rugby, the first man to win Aussie NRL titles together with a Heineken Cup and a World Cup, a man defined by his attitude to hard work, All Blacks lock Thorn is cut from some tough stuff.
According to Cockers, this giant of the game said he would do whatever he needed to do at Tigers, “play 35 games or play five” just so long as he felt wanted and made a contribution both in training and playing.
Humility is a quality that goes down well at Welford Road. Welcome the Big Man.