Newcastle Knights forward Chris Houston has had to come through much adversity to get to this point, but is happy to reach 150 NRL games. Credit: Grant Trouville. Copyright: NRL Photos.
There was probably a time in his life where Newcastle Knights forward Chris Houston thought he'd never make it this far in his rugby league career.
Houston's livelihood and rugby league career was left in limbo after being stood down by the Knights following accusations of drug supply in 2010. While he has been through some definite lows, Houston was re-signed by the club when he was exonerated from the charges eight months later.
With the past now well and truly behind him, the Narooma junior is likely to line-up for his 150th NRL game (133 games with Newcastle, 16 with St George Illawarra) this Saturday afternoon against the Melbourne Storm.
"That process [with the drug supply charges] there a couple of years ago is something that I don't draw back on too much at all really but you know something that I have really prided myself on is looking after my body and making sure I'm available for selection," Houston told NRL.com.
"You never know how many games you're going to play when you start your career... so in that respect it is a good achievement knocking up 150 games... I'm pretty happy with it, it's something that I'll look back on I suppose and especially if we win it will be a happy memory for me but we'll see happens."
Though he may pride himself on his fitness and availability, Houston has been stranded on 149 games for the past three weeks after a knee injury cruelled what was supposed to be a memorable 150th game in the Knights' game against the Titans in the RiseForAlex round.
With that in mind, the 29-year-old was most likely found starting in the back-rower earlier in his career, nowadays however Houston is more accustomed to starting off the bench and playing in the front row under Wayne Bennett, something that doesn't bother him as long as the team is successful.
"You always want to start the game but the thing is coming off the bench at the moment I'm still getting plenty of minutes instead of coming on for 20 minutes and coming back off but I enjoy the back row," Houston said. "I suppose the positive in my game is that I play both so I don't mind coming off the bench."
With the Knights' coming off a massive 50-10 loss to the Rabbitohs on Sunday up in Cairns, the return of Houston will prove to be a massive boost for Newcastle as they approach the back five games of the season and continue their attempts to avoid the wooden spoon.