Low's burning NRL desire
Cook Islands winger and former Bulldog and Raider Drury Low is hoping to use this weekend's 2017 Rugby League World Cup Qualifier against Tonga as a reminder to NRL clubs he is still capable of doing a job in the top grade.
The 25-year-old played 11 NRL games in five seasons in his time at the Raiders and Bulldogs yet found himself playing for Group 6 outfit Narellan Jets in 2015 after failing to find a home elsewhere in first grade.
A move designed to continue supporting his family, Low has worked as a traffic controller for much of the year – a far stretch from his time spent in the NRL.
Now back in the national team camp with first-graders Sam Mataora, Francis Molo, Jordan Rapana and Super League's Anthony Gelling, Low is looking to take Campbelltown Sports Stadium by storm on Saturday against a far more experienced Tonga outfit.
Still the Holden Cup's most prolific try scorer (54 tries in 60 games) despite his last appearance coming in 2010 in his time at the Raiders, Low believes he has the potential to succeed in the NRL in his preferred position of centre.
"Just to be back in Cook Islands camp with the boys after almost 12 months out of the NRL it makes you realise how much you miss it so I'm glad to be back. When I'm sitting at home on the lounge and watching the boys play I'm happy for them but I still have that desire and the fire inside to want to get back and play," Low told NRL.com.
"My manager last year tried to find me a club while I was playing first grade and it didn't work out so I ended up having to go to work and that's why I ended up out there at Narellan. When I went out there and spoke to them they said they could offer me a job and I thought that was best for my family.
"It has opened my eyes a lot not being in the NRL, what I'm doing now is my first proper job I've had in my life. I pretty much finished school and went straight into footy when I did my first pre-season in 2009 so it's been tough but for my little family I had to do what I had to do."
Regardless Low is beyond excited to chance his arm against the Tongans – with 17 of their 18-man squad having played in the NRL – a team they went down to the wire with back in the 2013 World Cup, eventually losing by four points.
"To go out and play for your country is always good. To be out with the boys as well I love it. It's exciting I can't wait to go out and play with the boys again," Low said.
"We have a pretty young side but I can't wait to get out there. It'll be a pretty physical game with the Tongans. It's not going to come easy, especially with them being a very experienced side."
The World Cup qualifier between Tonga and the Cook Islands will be live streamed on NRL.com from 7.30pm on Saturday night AEDT.