In the NRL, players sometimes feel like they have hit a crossroads in their career – a path where it seems like their rugby league journey is all but set to come to an end, only for one last chance to rear its head, and provide a moment of profound happiness.
For Melbourne’s interchange forward Jaiman Lowe, this was exactly the case, down to the exact situation.
It was back in 2009, when Lowe was not offered a new contract by his then side, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, resulting in the veteran forward moving to Townsville to play for North Queensland’s feeder side, the Northern Pride.
At that point in time, Lowe believed that his chance to continue his career in the NRL and win an elusive NRL premiership, had evaporated before his eyes.
“Yeah, I thought it was probably past me … I’d come to terms with the fact that was probably it,” he said this week.
“I was really enjoying myself in Cairns, loved living up there and I enjoyed playing with the Pride, but it was sort of like that was going to be the end of it for me until I got the opportunity at Souths again when they had some injuries.
“Then when the salary cap (scandal) happened in Melbourne there was an opportunity to go down there and it worked out well.”
As if it was right on cue, though, Storm coach Craig Bellamy came knocking on Lowe’s door, and offered him the chance to play a role in the Melbourne Storm team, one that the former Bunny and Cowboy gladly accepted.
For Lowe, who was so close to giving the game away, it was a breath of fresh air, and although he will play in his final game this weekend in the NRL grand final, Lowe knows that moments like that, are the reason why you play footy.
This is the reason why you keep playing footy,” Lowe said.
“You hope that one day you join a team that has success like the Storm. Having not played any finals footy at the end of my career at Souths was something that really bothered me, and one of the reasons why I wanted to keep playing in the NRL. To play in the finals series with the Storm and now get to the grand final on Sunday, makes it all worthwhile.”
With a move to Moranbah beckoning for Lowe after the grand final, he has one last thought on his mind – winning it.
“I hope so, it’ll either be a dream or a nightmare – one or the other,” Lowe said with a laugh.