Every team has their superstars.
In the New Zealand Warriors case, think Kevin Locke, Manu Vatuvei, and even Kristian Inu(his performance last Sunday shall be conveniently forgotten). Always doing something stupendous, they are. Accolades are seldom far from their person.
What every team also needs is its share of hard grafters. You know, the head down, bum up, no nonsense types.
They will never partake in an eighty metre intercept try.
What they will do though, is quietly go about their work of making forty tackles a match, not to mention fifteen hit-ups which usually get them nothing more than a whole lot of pain.
It’s a thankless task.
The public never give them an ounce of credit for their efforts, and yet those same players keep coming back for more.
Loyal to the end, uncomplaining and hard working, they don’t get the big contracts of 300 to 500K pa that the likes of Vatuvei can demand.
Of course, the irony is that Vatuvei and co only have the chance to get up to their superstar antics with their superstar salaries because of the hard yakka put in by those grafters up front in the engine room, initially.
And yet do you hear Michael Luck whinge?
Nope, not once.
Grateful to be living his dream of playing professional Rugby League, he tirelessly goes about his work each week with the same intensity regardless of whether his team is winning or losing; making those forty (sometimes more) tackles a match.
If it were not for his covering tackle on Nathan Merritt last Sunday as Merritt was about to indulge in a fifty metre foray down field to score what would have possibly been a match defining try, the Warriors winning streak would not have been extended to five matches.
Injuries need not bother pestering Luck for a week off. No point, for they would simply end up talking to themselves, such is his level of disdain for their pleas of leniency.
Only rarely does he miss a match.
In 2010, he received a gash to his thigh so deep that anyone who had ventured Luck’s way would have had the misfortune to see down to his femur.
One of the more horrendous injuries seen in recent times most would have been on the sidelines for a couple of months.
Not Luck, though.
After missing a couple of matches, he strapped the thigh up and was back in action with no qualms about reinjuring himself.
With his defensive qualities and what is clearly a strong mental attitude, it’s no wonder that the Warriors have the fifth best defensive record in the NRL this season.
So, by all means, idolise the Vatuvei’s of this world.
But, the next time you’re at Mt Smart Stadium; don’t forget to give Luck a rapturous round of applause.
After all, he is the glue that holds this side together, and more than deserves all the acclaim he gets.