For Riddell, this is exactly what happened, and he was in total shock. As Riddell was working towards ensuring that Wigan would win the ESL, it was his mother Sandra back home here in Australia that was suffering, following bouts of chemotherapy to deal with the breast cancer.
“It was pretty tough,” Riddell said yesterday.
“I know Dad [Alan] and my two brothers [Luke and Shane] would hold things back from me. You know, being so far away from home, it’s just what a family does.
“They just knew that if I had found out the whole situation, I would have come home, and they didn’t want that . . . and Mum didn’t want that, either. So we stuck it out.”
In what is Riddell’s first year back in the NRL since he left to play for Wigan, things have changed and in a big way for the man they call Piggy with the marriage to his wife Karli blossoming, and the birth of their son Harrison.
“I don’t think I’m a more serious footballer,” he said, laughing. “I think I look after myself better these days.
“And with a wife and little boy you are not going out and partying all night, either, are you?
“But Mum is home and going well. She goes to see the doctor every month.
“We just take it as it comes.
“It does make you appreciate things more, definitely. And Mum and Dad will be able to come out to the games again this year.”
Riddell is grateful for the opportunity given to him by the Roosters, and he will ensure that he can do what it takes to repay their faith shown in him on the field.
This time of year you always start wondering if you can still do
it, compete at this level,” he explained.
“But that’s the test, isn’t it?
“That’s what it’s all about. Proving to yourself you can still do it.
“Winning the Super League competition last year with Wigan, to finally win a competition, was an incredible feeling.
“People say it’s the best feeling you can get in the game, and it is.
“And now to get this opportunity, to come back and play in the NRL and try and do it here at 30.
“I do want to test myself.
“I am a bit older now . . . I want to see if I can still do it.”