‘I’m a bit of a mummy’s boy’
Me and my older brother Jackson started out at Milperra Colts. Mum was Jackson’s team manager to start with. When we both started playing she took on a bigger role as the club’s assistant secretary, then secretary after that.
It was a big load for her. She’d have work during the day, then most nights she would be down at the canteen or at club meetings. She worked hard but her attitude was if she could help us in any way she would do it and she loved it.
My NRL debut this year was huge for her.
When I told her she was going to have to present me my jersey, she said she didn’t want to do it because she didn’t want to cry in front of everyone.
I told her there was no one else I wanted to give me that jersey, so I made her suck it up and she did a great job. She broke down straightaway. I’m a bit of a mummy’s boy. As soon as she cries, I cry as well.
It was at Campbelltown Stadium before the Tigers game. I knew they were coming in, my mum, dad, brother and girlfriend, but I wasn’t sure how it would work. I was just stretching, trying to get into my zone. All the boys got up and I though shit we must be having a meeting, so I went up too.
Nick Meaney debuted the same day and his dad got quite emotional about it. I thought, ‘oh man if he’s going to cry, there’s no way mum’s going to keep it together’. As soon as mum started I could hear it in her voice, then I started tearing up a bit.
It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
It meant a lot to share it with Jackson too.
He’s two years older than me and, growing up, I always watched him play footy. He was the best in his team and that drove me to be the player I am today.
From the ages of 8-13, he was pretty hard on me. We used to play against each other but he was always better than me. He was way faster. I could never catch him. He’d always run rings around me and call me fat and that used to get to me. Games would often end with me crying to mum.
She’d blow up at him. It was hard to beat him at footy but if I wanted to get him in trouble, that was easy.
I thought he was just being a mean older brother but looking back now he put me on the path to where I am. He wanted the best for me always, but there was a time I didn’t really understand that and was being a sook. Without him, my career wouldn’t be what it is now. He made me strong.
We never punched on, but State of Origin time things could get a little hectic. He was a big Darren Lockyer fan, so he decided he was a Queenslander. That was weird.
We’d play our Origin game before the big one came on and there’d be the odd stray elbow flying in.
I’m excited about the club’s future
I got to play eight games this year, then I suffered a foot injury and missed the next couple of months. Thankfully, I made it back to first grade for the last couple of games.
The game I got injured in, I was thinking it was my best game of the year and that I was starting to find my feet. To get that injury and know I was going to be out for a while was heartbreaking.
Playing that level of footy was everything I wanted.
I want to have a massive pre-season and be in the round one team. From there I want to keep playing good consistent footy, and stay in the team. I don’t care where, I just want to keep playing week in, week out.
I recently signed a new contract and I’m excited about the club’s future. I think we’re on the up. Last year we started slowly but the way we finished was a massive boost. We had a few good wins against pretty decent teams.
We’re still a young team that’s building momentum and a couple of experienced signings are going to help us.
Our coach Dean Pay copped some stuff this year which I felt was pretty unfair.
He’s doing what he does best and some things weren’t working at the start of the year. But he’s the coach that gave me my first opportunity, so I’ll forever be in debt to him.
He’s been awesome for me, tells me to back myself and do what I’m good at. In years past I’ve been a bit in my shell, and he’s the one that got me out of it.