It helped motivate Dunamis Lui through the tough times – getting back on the field and earning himself another NRL contract.
He hopes that’s with the Canberra Raiders.
Lui’s been one of the Green Machine’s best forwards so far this season in his return from a knee reconstruction.
Going into their round nine clash against the Gold Coast Titans at Canberra Stadium on Saturday, the 28-year-old was the Raiders’ fourth-ranked forward for run metres behind Josh Papalii, Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo.
He’s yet to make an error and has given away just three penalties.
Lui wrecked his knee in round 13 against Manly at Brookvale Oval to end his 2017 season and he came back this year off-contract.
He came to Canberra to resurrect his NRL career after stints with Brisbane, the Sea Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Lui used earning another contract as motivation during the tough times.
“That’s one of the things that was in my mind last year going through rehab – just coming out this year and really trying to put together a good season and try and work out a contract,” he said on Tuesday.
“But right now I just want to play footy and not really think about that. I spoke to my manager, I said, ‘I trust them [the Raiders], you can sort all that out, I’m just going to focus on footy and play’.”
He played just seven games last season and is five games short of bringing up his 100th NRL game in his second year with the Green Machine.
Lui hoped to extend his time in lime green.
“I love it here, my family’s enjoying it here as well so I’d love to stay,” he said.
Manly launched an investigation into the spate of knee injuries that has hit the beleaguered NRL club this week, with three of their players – including former Raider Lachlan Croker – tearing their anterior cruciate ligament at Brookvale Oval this season.
Lui suffered the same fate there last year, but he was unsure whether the ground played any role.
He spent two seasons with the Sea Eagles, playing 38 NRL games for his former club.
“It’s just unfortunate. I know that ground is a bit heavy, but I can’t really say much,” Lui said.
NRL ROUND NINE
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Gold Coast Titans at Canberra Stadium, 3pm. Tickets from Ticketek.
Raiders squad: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Sia Soliola, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Joe Tapine, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Josh Papalii. Interchange from: 14. Ata Hingano, 15. Shannon Boyd, 16. Luke Bateman, 17. Dunamis Lui, 18. Liam Knight, 19. Michael Oldfield, 20. Brad Abbey, 21. Jack Murchie.
Titans squad: 1. Michael Gordon, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Brendan Elliot, 4. Konrad Hurrell, 5. Phillip Sami, 6. Bryce Cartwright, 7. Ash Taylor, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Ryan James (c), 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Will Matthews, 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange from: 14. Max King, 15. Jack Stockwell, 16. Keegan Hipgrave, 17. Ryan Simpkins, 18. Leilani Latu, 19. Moeaki Fotuaika, 20. Brenko Lee, 21. Kane Elgey.