I won't be broken: Gray
Five months since a prescription painkiller overdose threatened his life, South Sydney's Aaron Gray has come out the other side with a career perspective unlike any other.
One week out from the Rabbitohs' season-opener against the Roosters, Gray said he could have let what happened break him but was confident in his understanding of how good he has it.
"I don't know what you'd call it other than a lesson in life," Gray told NRL.com.
"100 per cent it brings your career into perspective. It's put life into perspective too, not only my career.
"I have come to the conclusion that it can either make me or break me and I'm definitely not going to let it break me so I can't wait to get out there and play footy again."
In what has been an injury-ravaged career so far for Gray, the 21-year-old appeared to put any fleeting concerns aside last year by playing 12 NRL games in his debut season.
With Dylan Walker and Joel Reddy departing the club, a spot on the wing has opened up in the Rabbitohs' NRL team though Gray is unsure as to where he stands with coach Michael Maguire.
"It's hard to say, I've tried to put my best foot forward so I'll guess we'll just have to see what happens when Round 1 comes around. Everything is kept under wraps by Madge for the most part up until the team is named really," Gray said.
"This is the best my body has ever felt. I'm really looking forward to the season beginning. Hopefully I can stay injury-free and see where that takes me, it's been good to get almost the entire pre-season under my belt and not worry about falling behind."
An extra motivation for Gray this season lies in helping his brother Brock develop for the future.
The younger Gray, a 19-year-old back-rower in South Sydney's NYC team, may not earn his NRL debut this season, but his older brother can't help dream about playing with his younger sibling in the top grade in the near future.
"It's always good to have close mates in the team let alone your brother. I love training with him and hopefully in the next couple of years we can get on the big stage and get a game together," Gray said of Brock, who is two years his junior.
"I've wanted to do that since I first started playing first grade. We have Sam, George and Tom (Burgess) all out there and it's pretty special when they get out there together so the chance to have my brother out there with me would be pretty good.
"I'm trying to push him along the best I can to help him get to where he wants to be and that's in the first grade team. It might not be this year but in the next couple of years, I hope to see up there for sure."