I’m an emotional guy. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m not ashamed of that at all.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand why. I’d talk in front of my teammates and I’d get emotional. I wondered what it was all about, that overwhelming emotion.
I’ve come to realise that it’s just who I am. I can’t help how I feel. Sometimes I can’t keep my emotions in check. It’s just how strongly I feel about some things.
I’m not going to hide it, change it or shy away from it.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve just come to better appreciate the importance of things. Especially the big things – like dad raising two sons as a single father. As I get closer to the age that dad was when he took on that task, I wonder, ‘Wow … how did you pull through?’
It just makes being his son more special.
Chris Cordner was a very good footballer. He’s a better dad. He’s my hero.
It made me happy that eventually, I was in the position to do something for him.
A few years ago, after signing a new contract with the Roosters, I was able to buy him a place: a townhouse on the beach at Old Bar. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. It was a good feeling to be able to do something like that for someone who’s done so much for me.
Dad’s like me – he wears his heart on his sleeve. When I told him I was going to buy him a place, he couldn’t really believe it. Being the kind of man he is, I think at first he didn’t really want to let me do it, but he didn’t really have a choice!
Dad was very proud after Origin this year. It’s been a long road together, with a lot of hardships along the way. He knew that at the time, I wanted that series win more than anything in the world.
He rides the journey with me and was pumped.
On Sunday, we share another big game.
THE GRAND FINAL
Especially in those big games, defence is what holds you strong. It was a major part of why we won that game.
There was a period early in the year where we weren’t where we wanted to be attack-wise. We had some new faces in key positions, Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco, and they weren’t back until a bit later in pre-season due to the World Cup. It took a while to gel, but ever since finding the groove, our attack has performed strongly.
Cooper’s preliminary final performance was inspirational. Seeing the pain he was in during the game, to the extent that he could barely hold his arm up – it was a very tough effort to stay out there.
That shows what Cooper’s all about. He wanted to help us get the win and was prepared to do whatever it took.
Latrell Mitchell and Dylan Napa, both Origin players, are major ins for us against the Melbourne Storm. Dylan adds that firepower to our team and plenty of experience. Latrell brings a lot of strike and X-factor. They’ve been a massive part of our success this year.
It feels great to be here again. It’s why we play football: to play in big moments, especially grand finals. To give yourself the opportunity to win a premiership. We’re all excited.
I was 21 when we made the grand final in 2013. It was a bit different to this time around.
I was racing the clock because of an injury that I suffered in Round 22 against Canberra. I needed surgery for syndesmosis, an ankle injury, which is normally a 12-week recovery. That would have been my season done, but I wanted to come back because I knew we had a good chance of making the grand final.
I was determined to be right to play. I got myself fit, and we won – 26-18 over Manly.
Five years later, I know what to expect. It’s a long week, grand final week. Come Sunday night, I’ll be ready to do everything I possibly can to lead the Roosters to a win.
More about: Brad Fittler | Cameron Smith | Canberra Raiders | Canterbury Bulldogs | Cooper Cronk | Injuries | James Tedesco | Latrell Mitchell | Manly Sea Eagles | NSW Blues | Queensland Maroons | Resilience | South Sydney Rabbitohs | St George Illawarra Dragons | State of Origin | Sydney Roosters