Jet lag key to Locke debut

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2nd July 2014

New Zealand international Kevin Locke is battling to overcome the effects of jet lag as he eyes an eagerly-awaited First Utility Super League debut.

The 25-year-old full-back has joined Salford Red Devils on a three-and-a-half-year contract and, after meeting his new team-mates yesterday, underwent a difficult first training session at the AJ Bell Stadium today.

"I feel a bit crook," Locke told Press Association Sport. "I felt a bit sick at training. I'm getting over it slowly. I did a full training session today."

Salford coach Iestyn Harris is unlikely to throw the former New Zealand Warriors player into action against Huddersfield Giants on Saturday, with the home game against Hull FC a week later the more likely date for his Red Devils debut.

"I'm not too sure, maybe next weekend," Locke said. "I've got see how I feel yet. I haven't played for four weeks and you've got to take the travelling into consideration. Obviously I've got to get a bit fitter.

"I'm pretty excited to be here, though. It's something different. Training today was a lot different to what I'm used to back in the NRL but it was still good to be out there running around.

"It has been a bit of a frustrating couple of months but I'm enjoying being here."

Salford, who have begun selling Kevin Locke merchandise, are hoping the arrival of their latest marquee player will provide them with a late-season fillip after enduring a disappointing first half to the campaign.

Locke, who played for the Kiwis in the 2013 World Cup final at Old Trafford in November, missed the start of the NRL season due to a knee injury and then found former Wigan Warriors full-back Sam Tomkins in his way of a recall to the New Zealand Warriors team.

Locke is no stranger to England, having toured with New Zealand for the 2011 Four Nations Series, and has a host of friends at the Red Devils, including former Warriors team-mate Steve Rapira and former Junior Kiwi Rangi Chase.

"I spoke to Steve and Junior (Sau) about the club - and Rangi - and they said I'd love it," Locke said. "I guess I have to get used to the time difference yet. Hopefully I'll play next weekend, that's the game I'm looking to play in."