Having to give up your dream as an NRL player is never an easy thing, but when kids come into the equation at a young age, you feel obligated to do so – and for Matt Minto, he did just that.
Minto, a talented halfback, who was playing for the Canterbury U20's side in 2010 before his wife Carolyn fell pregnant, felt it was best that he head back home to Rockhampton, thus putting his career on hold.
Fast forward 2 years into the future and 3 years at the North Queensland Cowboys feeder side, the Mackay Cutters – Minto is eager to get stuck into footy, to make up for the last few years that he missed.
He came one step closer to seeing that dream come true, awarded a train/trial contract with the Cowboys, as he looks to make his mark on the pre-season.
“I loved it down there (Canterbury), but I needed to put my family first,” said Minto.
“Now I just want to secure a spot and stay here. I'm taking it as 'now or never' and want to take it with both hands.”
With his wife and daughter still in Rockhampton, moving away for the opportunity was not easy for Minto, but he is hopeful that short-term pain will turn into long-term gain.
“Hopefully it's all positive results,” he said.
“It's just a big opportunity and I don't want to let it slip.”
It is no secret that the Cowboys halves depth is strong, but in a sign that Minto has what it takes – during his time at the Mackay Cutters, the young halfback pushed current Cowboys halfback Michael Morgan, into the centres.
“That was around the time when it came about (the Cowboys' interest),” Minto said.
For Minto, who is well aware of the Cowboys halves depth, he is just happy to be there, and aims to work and train hard.
“If I got to stay I would be stoked,” he said.
“All I could really do is concentrate on my game, train hard and keep playing good, consistent footy each week and bide my time and, if I got a chance one day, just try to take it with both hands.”
When it comes to the pre-season training, players have been saying it is the hardest of their careers, but Minto believes that he is doing the right things.
“They haven't really said too much, just to put (my) head down and train hard,” he said.
“So that's what I'll do and I'll see what happens from there.”