Forward thinking works for Jeremy
How badly do you want your dream?
That’s the question Jeremy Siulepa asked himself after two knee reconstructions, cracked ribs and a broken ankle.
The 25- year- old fitness instructor has landed himself a rugby league contract in Newcastle, despite being hammered with injury and rejection in his short rugby league career.
Siulepa travels to Newcastle today where he will be paid to play the game he loves as second row for the Maitland Pickers.
The Tokoroa-born father of one will be up against former and future NRL players with a dream of joining that pack.
But for now his goal is to stay injury-free.
Getting this opportunity hasn’t come easily, he said.
Siulepa, born in New Zealand of Samoan heritage, spent a couple of years playing in Sydney before he injured his left knee.
He returned to his partner and son in Tokoroa and got a job as a sports health and fitness tutor at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
He said his dream of playing league professionally had all but gone out the window.
‘‘I always wanted to play good league but after getting injured a lot I just wanted to pass on my knowledge.’’
Despite the odds stacked against him, Siulepa persevered, recording his inspiring journey of recovery – a video that captured the eyes of Maitland recruiters.
‘‘ I think they liked how I bounced back.’’
But injury has not been his only hurdle to success.
‘‘It has been pretty hard but you’ve got to take you’re opportunities and that’s coming from someone who didn’t even get selected for Waicoa Bay [Stallions] two years in a row then got a starting spot, to where I am this year.
‘‘I thought I’d be playing club league for the Pacific Sharks and now I’m gonna be playing against former NRL players.’’
The 104kg forward is not holding his breath for a chance at the big league but nothing will stop him trying.
‘‘When this came up I thought there’s a little hole and I want to have a peek through and maybe I’ll crack it.’’
Looking forward: From Waicoa Bay Stallions to Maitland Pickers, Jeremy Siulepa is owning his dreams on the rugby league field.