Back by popular demand, our interview series is back! This time, we spoke with Dean Collis, a former Cronulla Sharks, Wests Tigers and Wakefield utility back.
He opened up about his debut, his appearance for City Origin, his time in England and his post-NRL/SL career.
1. 2003 was a big year for you at the start of your career as you represented the Australian Schoolboys and made your Wests Tigers debut; what are your memories of both those occasions?
A: 2003 was a big year. The Australian Schoolboys was a great experience and a great privilege to be part of. It is a huge honour to represent your country at any level and it is still one of my most treasured jerseys.
My debut for Wests Tigers was a dream come true and I couldn’t believe it came so early. I just remember getting the call on a Monday to say I was playing and I was over the moon. I tore my quad in the warm up and I got through 60 minutes before coming off.
2. In 2006, you became a regular in the centres for the Tigers; what changed in you as a player to make that spot your own?
A: I played a few games in 2005 and started to feel more comfortable around the playing group. I had been in the squad for a few years and I knew that I had to start to push my way into the team. Shane Elford was injured to start the year which opened the door for me to get a start which gave me a chance to cement my spot.
3. In 2007, you made an appearance for the City Origin side; what was that experience like?
A: To get the chance to play for City when it was still seen as a bit of Origin trial was a great experience. I had the chance to play alongside some great players which I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to do.
4. What prompted your move to the Cronulla Sharks ahead of the 2010 season?
A: 2009 at the Tigers was a poor year for me. My form was poor to start the year and then I broke my arm during the year at training. I was a bit down in the dumps and I just felt like I needed a change.
5. Following two years at the Sharks, you moved to Wakefield to play there; what did you find was the main difference between the NRL and the Super League at that time and did you have to adjust at all?
A: There was a big difference between NRL and Super League on and off the field. It was a lot more attack-oriented as opposed to the NRL which had a lot more focus on defence. Although it was a huge change, I didn’t feel like I had to adjust much. I felt like the game over there suited me more.
6. You made the decision to return to Australia for family reasons at the end of the 2015 season and are now playing for the Camden Rams in Group 6; was that a decision you felt comfortable with, knowing that you may have had more juice left in the tank at the SL or NRL level?
A: It was a really hard decision to make and I thought about it long and hard. My wife and I had a baby boy the year before and I probably more so than her was struggling not having any family around for a bit of help and assistance.
I have a few regrets that I came home when I did as I still believe I had a bit to offer. I played with Camden Rams when I came back and finished up at the end of 2016.
7. If you could give any advice to budding rugby league players; what would it be?
A: Enjoy it while you can and try and make every opportunity count because you never know when the next one might come along.