Some players have a team that they support wholeheartedly growing up and sometimes, have a chance to play for them at some stage in their careers.
For Matt Groat, that is the case, as the former Wests Tigers prop signs with the St George Illawarra Dragons, a team he has supported since he was a little boy and a team his family supports.
“I’ve always been a massive Dragons fan, my family’s always been following the Dragons, and they gave me a good opportunity,” Groat said.
To make the transition easier, Groat knows some of the other younger players already at the Dragons, having gone to school with Jack Stockwell, Sam Williams and Jack De Belin.
“I know a few of the boys â€“ I went to school with Jack De Belin, Jack Stockwell and Sam Williams, so it made the decision quite easy. And I love the area of Wollongong,” said Groat.
Still only 21, injuries have not been kind to Groat over the last couple of years, having suffered ligament damage in his toe, a dislocation of the thumb and a torn meniscus.
Despite the injuries, however, Groat says the body is feeling good and he is ready to play and get stuck-in.
“I’ve had three major surgeries over the last couple of years, it’s been a factor [in not playing a lot of first grade] but all good now, all healthy and ready to rumble,” he said.
“I had ligament damage in my toe so I had to get surgery on that, I had a dislocation in my thumb and a meniscus tear in my knee.”
With several new faces at the Dragons and a stern competition for spots, Groat knows that hard work and dedication are required in order to get a potential first-grade spot.
“At the moment I’m just trying to get as strong and as fit as I can with this off-season, do whatever I can for the club,” said Groat.
“If I play first grade I’ll be over the moon, if it’s working my way into it â€“ so be it.”