Arrow building a bright future
Young Brisbane Bronco Jai Arrow might be one of the hardest workers in the NRL – on and off the field.
The 21-year-old is currently four games into his NRL career, but it's the Burleigh Bears junior's dedication off the field that is setting him up for the future.
Arrow is currently an apprentice with All Trades Queensland, something he began in January 2013 while playing in the NYC for the Broncos.
It was a smart decision by Arrow, with the apprentice plumber deciding it was best for his long-term future to choose a trade to fall back on when he first started his rugby league career.
It means Arrow, who is now with the Broncos full-time, must juggle between football and plumbing after becoming a regular in the first grade side. He's been helped in that regard by Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, who has told the young gun he would release him from scheduled training sessions when required to fulfil his requirements in his plumbing apprenticeship.
Arrow took time out of Broncos training to speak exclusively to NRL.com about managing both aspects of his career, and the former Australian Schoolboys representative said he was loving his trade because it allows him to get away from rugby league and alleviate the stresses of first grade.
"I'm still doing my trade. On my days off I go to work and try and finish off my apprenticeship," Arrow said.
"I've been going to TAFE on Thursday as well so it's a good thing to have behind me. I'm trying to get it done as soon as possible.
"It's not too hard juggling footy and my apprenticeship. I come to Red Hill and train and then on my days off I go to work.
"It's not really anything new to me because I've been doing it for four years now. It's something that I've got to put up with and just get it done.
"It's good to be able to get away from footy a bit. You train day in, day out, so you need something else there that helps you get away from it and relax.
"When I'm at TAFE I try and get as much rest as I can so it's not too bad."
Any rest Arrow achieves is well earned, with the up-and-coming star coming off a stellar last two years.
Arrow's form saw him gain selection in the 2015 junior Kangaroos, as well as being named the Broncos' NYC Forward of the Year, NYC Players' Player and NYC Player of the Year.
It didn't take him long to force his way into first grade, making his NRL debut against the Manly Sea Eagles in Round 10 this season.
The Suncorp Stadium clash was a sold-out affair, and Arrow said he couldn't believe he was running out onto Lang Park in front of so many people.
"I was very nervous when I made my debut," he said.
"I had people telling me and asking me if I knew it was a full house. I kind of just thought about it and realised there was going to be 52,000 there.
"It was certainly a dream come true. I've always dreamed of it as a kid.
"I was relieved to play my first game of NRL and I thought I did myself proud. I really enjoyed the experience."