King puts family before Manly Grand Final
Manly have featured in four Grand Finals since Jason King's 2001 NRL debut – the long serving clubman played in the first two, missed the next two through injury, and now in his 14th and final season circumstances may keep him out of a third.
King lined up at prop in a 34-8 loss to the Storm in the 2007 decider, but gained revenge as a bench forward in a huge 40-0 win the very next year.
But a pectoral injury late in the season prevented him from featuring in the side's 2011 premiership win against the Warriors, and an early-season shoulder injury cruelled his 2013 hopes as his side went on to lose last year's decider to the Roosters.
Which brings us to 2014, and the likeable prop's last year as a professional footy player.
With one round left in the regular season, his side are running first with a golden opportunity to wrap up their first minor premiership since 1997, and only a foolhardy tipster would bet against them being involved on the first Sunday in October.
The thing is, King's wife is due to give birth to the couple's second child around then.
And despite the disappointment of having already missed two Grand Finals through injury, King says he would have no qualms about putting his family first if the dates didn't line up.
"Yeah it'll be thereabouts – I might have to have a chat to the obstetrician!" King laughed when pressed by NRL.com as to whether a potential Grand Final appearance may be in jeopardy.
Speaking after his final game at Brookvale last Sunday, King stressed neither he nor the side was getting too carried away nor looking too far ahead, with plenty of tough games to come before his appearance or otherwise in a premiership decider.
"There's been a bit of focus on myself this week, hopefully we can put that away now – we have to pay respect to the competition and other teams," King said.
"There are some darn good football teams we're going to have to play. That's the ultimate goal [playing in a Grand Final], that's what we set out to do at the start of the year and that hasn't changed. We need to concentrate on the little details and make sure we get them right rather than focusing on the big picture."
King said he was hopeful he wouldn't miss any football but if it came down to it there was no decision to be made.
"Family obviously comes first," he stressed.
"I missed two grand finals, I missed 2011 and last year's loss through injury – but family's number one!"
One thing that is set in stone for his post-football career is a continuation of his studies.
"I've been at university since '99, I've studied the whole time I've been playing professional football. My wife is due in five weeks so that's the first thing on my mind but after that I definitely want to finish my law degree and stay in sport if possible."