How a former Stag found his silver lining during tough times
IT WAS only 12 months ago that a former Nanango Stag thought his rugby league career was over.
But one week ago Jordan Drew played in his first Intrust Super Cup grand final for the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls.
Even though they were defeated by the Burleigh Bears 28-10, he said the challenges he overcame to return to the game were well worth it.
"Running onto the field for the grand final was one of my best football moments,” Drew said.
"I haven't had that feeling in a long time.
"I would compare it to being similar to when I first made my debut for the Broncos.”
Since starting his career with the Nanango Stags as a junior, Drew has gone on to play for a number of clubs, including the Brisbane Broncos Under-20 Q Cup team.
However Drew said this year was the first time he had played a full season injury-free.
When he was playing for the Townsville Hawks last year he only managed to play two games due to concerns over his health.
"I've had seven injuries in the past few years,” he said.
"Last year I had to sit out most of the season because of multiple concussions.
"From scans and data, the club said that I needed to weigh up what was important to me.
"The side effects from the concussions really limited my game time and there was a 50/50 chance I would never play again.”
It wasn't all bad news, as Drew said the time off made him reassess his life.
"The flip side of last year was that it made me think about a back-up plan,” he said.
"I started doing personal training in Townsville and built up a lot of momentum with that. It really filled that void of not having footy.
"It was a blessing in disguise and I wouldn't have had that opportunity otherwise.”
Drew said even though the rules around concussions in rugby league were stricter, it had become unbalanced.
"There is definitely a lot more paranoia in the game,” he said.
"I think it's probably gone too far the other side now.”
As the season wrapped up, Drew said he would mostly likely re-sign with the club as well as run his personal fitness business he had established in Wynnum.
"Footy is a funny game,” he said.
"One minute you think you're at rock bottom and the next minute the best thing is around the corner.”