May 29, 2018
In Sport, To the Person in the Mirror
By Corey Thompson
I was rapt to recently ink another year with the Tigers, but I will play every game as if that contract extension did not happen.
It’s a mental balancing act. You want the security of knowing that your next season is already bedded down, but you also want to approach every game hungry, as if your future depended on it.
So, I owe the Tigers a lot and the best way to repay them is to play every game as if I am off-contract, keep working hard, be at my best and hopefully stay in the top grade.
My return to Australia and the NRL (from a stint in the English Super League with the Widnes Vikings) has been a dream.
I really could not have hoped for a better result. From a team perspective, I could tell during the pre-season that there was a special chemistry within this squad.
Yes, there were plenty of new faces, but the way the ‘old and new’ blended was incredible. On and off the field the boys gelled quickly.
In fact, it surprised me just how quickly we did gel as a team.
We soon looked like a squad that had been together for years and the new boys, including myself, fitted in really quickly with the blokes who have been at the Tigers for a long time.
That bonding, and of course the influence of coach Ivan Cleary, are the two key factors behind our success in 2018.
I really love it here. The playing roster and the coaching staff are a great bunch. But not only am I enjoying my footy, at 27 I am still learning … a lot.
The atmosphere here gives you more confidence in your own ability and on-field all the boys really support each other. We get behind each other when we make an error and we celebrate when we do something great.
This really positive atmosphere comes from the way Ivan Cleary approaches the playing group. He is such a calm and confident coach, even when you make an error.
He just wants each player to know their role and therefore he wants you to ask questions, as many as you need to ask.
He believes in us and the boys just enjoy playing for him.
Ivan has taught us the systems that he wants in place, but in saying that he has given us a pretty simple game plan – basically run hard and listen to the halves.
It has been great for me because that means I concentrate on supporting the big blokes and listen to Brooksy and Benji.
Personally, I could not have had a better start to the season. It has been great so far.
As a team, I think we have surprised a lot of people. We have put some really good passages of play together.
In the games we have lost, it has been a case of letting the intensity and opportunities slip.
But these are things we can work on and fix. I have no doubt that we will get all the balls rolling and have a great year.
I will keep working hard and never take for granted what I do for a living – playing rugby league.
I have always enjoyed what I do. Sure, there are times when you might get a bit disappointed – you put in an ordinary game, or you are not quite where you want to be.
But I have never wanted to walk away. Some of my mates are working 50 hours a week in a job they hate. I get to rock up to training each day and play rugby league for a living!
So when you are down in the dumps it is worth reminding yourself what you do – and that makes it a hell of a lot easier.