Injuries injuries injuries, they are the bane of a professional coaches’ existence. Can’t live with them, unfortunately one doesn’t get to live without them.
Just as Warriors Coach Brian (bluey) McLennan settles into his newly acquired dream job, bustling and busying his time away, plotting the ascent of his star-studded side to the summit of excellence, wondering how life could possibly get any better than the disposition of his current lot, along comes an injury list to put a sizable indentation in his carefully sculpted plans.
All that planning, yet life’s master plan forgot to inform him of its intentions and how much it doesn’t care for his ambitions.
It wasn’t through a lack of effort on the part of the new coach, though. A lazy summer it was not for the coaching and playing staff at Mt Smart. Four months of solid planning for the coach, four months of hard slog for the players, all seemingly fit as a fiddle and raring to foist their talents on each and alls theatre of dreams, then, snap, three frontline forwards are ruled out with injury.
It’s not like they were any of those fancy fly by nighter ball playing second rowers, either. Oh no, it just had be three of the grafters in the form of Michael Luck, Jacob Lillyman and Sam Rapira. You know the ones, never on the receiving end of any form of kudos given, yet unfailingly – and without complaint - do the hard yards, setting a platform for all the show ponies out in the backline to cash in on.
But, in youth, Bluey trusts.
Not for him to take the conservative route of appointing someone of maturity as a replacement. Instead, he goes and puts twenty year old rookie, Sione Lousi, in the melting pot that is the dark arts of the blackened, heady political landscape of which the unflinching diehard toughness of his fellow frontrowers knows no limitations.
They care not for the reputations of the longstanding, and, one imagines, of the new boy on the block who is unlikely to get an easy start to what is a potentially fruitful career, either. Not that is appears to bother him too much. Having played in the opening three rounds, the lad has quickly showed a propensity for the big time. Not for him a role as a caddie, he’s the real deal.
Those bullocking runs straight into the heart of the abyss, without fear or prejudice for the consequences that happen upon him. Time after time, and then again, this young man, who has been promoted from the interchange bench to the run-on side for this weekend’s encounter with Gold Coast, throttles his way head-on into the punishment that beckons him. It must be intimidating, but, then, it’s the team first for Lousi, and if that means taking more than his share of bumps and bruises, then so be it.
But best make the most of such talent quickly. For, as the saying goes, nothing is so good that it lasts for an eternity. This obviously includes a Rugby League career. Ten years for most, more for some, less for others – you never know, injury could be just around the corner, fast approaching on an unforeseen lane of destruction in its efforts to force you onto a new page and an unwanted way of life leaving nothing but unfulfilling memories to while away the days with.
So, wait not, waste not, want not, and charge forth into the sunrise that is a glowing vista of untapped opportunities waiting to be grabbed hold of.
Which the big man shows every sign of doing thus far in his burgeoning career.