Shearer the first casualty of NRL Rookie
After being cut by head coach Brad Fittler, Sunshine Coast's Jesse Shearer was the first player eliminated from the Top 15 in Channel Nine's The NRL Rookie on Tuesday night.
Shearer – son of former Queensland and Australian representative Dale – while disappointed by the result was grateful for the opportunity to feature in the show after an injury-riddled junior career.
"In terms of opportunities it was great to get some exposure. That was probably the main thing, to be given the chance to show what I can do as a football player and what I can do under my own name," Shearer told NRL.com.
"You never know who is going to see these things and what may come of it so it was a good opportunity to be a part of.
"You never want to blame injuries but I suffered some serious injuries [growing up]. I dislocated my leg and had to get plates inserted. I suffered another injury as a result of that which kept me out for a few years," he added.
"The main factor from that was my motivation and passion for the game during that time really took a big hit. It was hard to stay motivated and keep pursuing the dream."
Shearer said he could count the amount of games he played "on one hand" over the past three years prior to facing the NSW Ron Massey Cup representative team in the second episode of The NRL Rookie.
Shearer was left stranded on the wing at times on the left edge while fellow rookie David Andjelic's lack of fitness proved to be an issue, which their fellow rookies weren't shy to point out.
As a result the three 'weakest' players voted by the Rookies were Shearer, Andjelic and Matt Gorman – the latter ruled out of the week's challenges with a shoulder injury.
Gorman and Andjelic were given reprieves by coach Fittler, resulting in the end of the road for Shearer.
"I thought the boys were a bit harsh with their judgements. There were a few times where I was caught out defending three or four blokes because the line wouldn't shuffle over so it made me look pretty bad," Shearer said.
"Football is a team game and you can't expect me to defend three blokes on my own."
Fittler said the 24-year-old was "out of his comfort zone", and while deliberating the decision with fellow coaches Mark Geyer and Adrian Lam they conceded that they didn't have enough time in the series to mold Shearer into his potential.
The first player to be cut didn't entirely agree with the coaches' decision.
"I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I think all the boys, when you throw yourselves into something like that, you would be out of your comfort zone. That's generally where you grow as a person and as a footballer so I'd agree with that," he said.
"But I don't think it would've taken me too much time [to improve]. There was plenty of room for improvement definitely but I thought my performance was pretty solid and that I was only going to get better pretty quickly week to week as well.
"So in terms of there not being enough time for me, I'll have to respectfully disagree with Freddy, considering he is a legend of the game."
Shearer isn't sure what his future holds for his rugby league career but he is nonetheless making strides off the field in putting his Bachelor of Business to good use.
"I'm working in marketing at the moment. You never want to rely on – as much as you believe in yourself – becoming a footballer," Shearer said.
"There's never guarantees because injuries and a lot of other things can happen so it's always good to have something to fall back on."
Head to NRLROOKIE.COM to watch full catch up episodes of the NRL Rookie as well as online exclusive extras.