Knee reconstruction a blessing: Grevsmuhl
Imagine you're a 20-year-old kid who suffered a knee injury so severe it threatened the very purpose of your young life so far – this was the reality faced by Rabbitohs forward Chris Grevsmuhl two years ago.
Now he believes it was a blessing in disguise.
Having played a huge role in the Cowboys' NYC team over the span of four years, an ACL injury just three games into the 2013 season would spell the end to not only his season but his stint in North Queensland.
Uncontracted, a visit to Townsville from South Sydney coach Michael Maguire encouraged Grevsmuhl to sign on the dotted line and move down to Sydney to try his hand at the Rabbitohs.
While he spent all of last season biding his time in the NSW Cup with North Sydney, Grevsmuhl has made a position in the Rabbitohs' first-grade side his own in the first eight rounds of the season.
Having also played in winning sides in the Auckland Nines, World Club Challenge, Charity Shield and the NRL All Stars match all before his debut, Grevsmuhl said his knee injury two seasons ago enabled him to narrow his focus and get his career back on track.
"[My knee injury] was good because it made me think of the big picture. I'm just grateful for everything that has happened and being able to learn how to work hard again and get back to where I wanted to be and play first grade," Grevsmuhl told NRL.com.
"Hard work pretty much gets you where you want to be in this day and age. The knee injury definitely put me on the right track and enabled me to get some perspective about my rugby league career.
"It's all I've ever wanted to do with my life, is to play in the NRL. I think the knee injury was a blessing that it happened at the time it did because it made me work hard and try and do everything perfectly."
Grevsmuhl had his coach Maguire to thank for giving him the chance to succeed in the top grade.
"[Maguire] pretty much told me there was an opportunity at the Rabbitohs and if I was willing to work hard then I'd like you to come to the club and I jumped at the occasion," Grevsmuhl said.
"I was [chuffed] for him to come up and see me. I believe he is the best coach in the game and he did a whole a lot for me and my family [since that visit]."
Grevsmuhl's impact in 2015 hasn't been lost on his teammates either, especially fellow back-rower Chris McQueen who believes after some early teething problems the Hughenden Hawks junior is starting to live up to his potential.
"A few of the boys here took him under their wing and really helped him out. Obviously being such a young kid – to learn the disciplines of the club and to get all the little things right away from football, I think that took a little bit of time – but now he's certainly on board and ripping in and we can't praise him enough," McQueen told NRL.com.
"He absolutely ripped in during pre-season. He's still such a young kid having just turned 22 but he's an absolute powerhouse. He just needs to focus on keeping his head down and continue to work hard and constantly strive to improve. It just goes to show hard work pays off and he's a perfect example of that."
As he set himself to run out for his ninth NRL appearance, starting in back row for Glenn Stewart who has been ruled out for 10 to 12 weeks with a thumb injury, Grevsmuhl laughed at the idea of being homesick.
"I have no [regrets], none at all," he said. "I love it down here and I have a good bunch of mates and I'm living in Sydney with my partner so I'm just very happy with where I am today."