Manly youngster John Grey may be finding it hard to get a start in the star-studded Sea Eagles backline, but he means business when it comes to securing his future.
A member of Manly’s undefeated Toyota Cup side, Grey faces a tough battle to break into the club’s NRL ranks with the likes of internationals David Williams, Michael Robertson, Tony Williams plus Michael Bani all ahead of him in the pecking order.
But rather than feel dejected, the battle for places has only served to inspire the 20-year-old to form his own business – Good Sports Home Services, a three-in-one home care service that specialises in gardening, water-free car washing and home handyman work.
“This is my last year in the Toyota Cup so I really have to make a good go at it because, if I don’t make it, this could be the last year in my football career,” he said.
“Over the last few years I have really worked hard to improve my game.
“I have to put my hand up and show everyone what I have got.
“Having something to fall back on is the biggest thing and that is why halfway through last year I just sat down and said that this could be my last year and I really needed something to fall back on.
“I now have really good backing if footy does fall through and that is the basis behind the Toyota Cup.
“That really sunk in at the start of last year when we did the Toyota Cup induction camps, that was really the basis for going for my own business.”
With that in mind, Grey already has huge ambitions for a business he is confident will also help his football.
“I’ve had a lot of coaches and mentors tell me that the best way to keep your Rugby League in focus is by getting away from it,” he said.
“There is nothing better than in the morning waking up and knowing that you have your own business to look forward to building and it completely keeps your mind off footy.
“Our first goal is to really get the NRL on board and let them know the concepts and which way we want to push it.
“As a regional master, my main goal is to get a franchise at each of the NRL clubs and to push the name.”
With mandated non-training hours in the Toyota Cup and most clubs implementing a ‘no work, no study, no play’ policy, Grey believes his business would benefit all NRL clubs and their young stars coming through the competition.
“I think it would be a good alliance to push the franchise with each NRL club because it is a base business for the up and coming Toyota Cup players,” he said.
“That is the whole concept of the Toyota Cup, being able to work or do some sort of education around footy.
“If each club had a franchise or a business of their own, there should be no reason why players do not have work.
“I think if the NRL and each NRL club can jump on board I really think it will push and increase their profile in the public eye.”
The basis behind the name ‘Good Sports’ is that franchisees are passionate about giving back to local level clubs to help create future sporting champions.
A percentage of the income from the business goes to a local sporting club of the franchisee’s choice, which is a main reason why Grey became excited about the venture.
“From just that alone they have been able to generate a great deal of support from Australian sporting ambassadors,” he said.
“It is completely up to each franchisee’s discretion where the money goes back to, it doesn’t have to be Rugby League, it can be any local sporting club.
“I’m going to donate to the Narrabeen Sharks here on the Northern Beaches.”