Eastwood hoping with all his heart for new deal
Everyone knows the Greg Eastwood irregular heartbeat story by now.
Everyone knows he has made it back to the NRL after surgery to correct his heart rhythm, playing his third game of the 2018 Telstra Premiership season last weekend in Townsville.
But what no-one knows - not even Eastwood - is whether his heart condition, which needs regular six-month testing, will work against him getting a new contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
It is understood by NRL.com that the 31-year-old's current price tag and not his health issues is the reason the Bulldogs will find it hard to offer him another deal.
Eastwood is in the final year of his contract - a reported $800,000 - and the Bulldogs can't afford to keep him on that money.
The Kiwis international is trying not to let what ultimately happens in 2019 disrupt his 2018 form.
''I guess in the back of your mind you don't know what you're doing next year,'' he told NRL.com.
''I've just got to go out and play good footy and hopefully things take care of themselves. I'd like to stay. I've been here nine years now.
''I've got a family and moving around doesn't help. I've been stable so hopefully I play well and the club wants to re-sign me.
''If not, I suppose I just go where I can get. At 31 you're not young and coming through, you're at the back end of your career. You have to play well to get more contracts so I intend on getting back to that.''
Wherever Eastwood ends up, he is feeling blessed already that he is still able to play rugby league. He nearly fainted while driving to preseason training last year, prompting a trip to the doctors to find out why.
''When I'm playing my heartbeat is around the 140 to 190 range depending on how hard you're working, but when I went for my test I went from 140 straight to 250 out of nowhere - and that was after walking on the treadmill," Eastwood said.
''They [specialists] mentioned it could be hereditary but as far as I know my parents didn't have any problems. It was just out of the blue.''
Asked if there had been any dramatic changes to his lifestyle or diet after undergoing surgery, Eastwood replied: ''I'm now drinking less coffees ... just one a day instead of three.
''There's nothing I have to do before I train or play. I made sure they went through it all so I could get the all-clear before I went back. You don't want to have a heart attack on the field.''
But just to be certain, a cautious Eastwood returned through the Intrust Super Premiership, playing big minutes before returning to the NRL again.
He has made five tackle breaks and is averaging 10 metres post-contact, but Eastwood knows he's not where he wants to be, especially if contract talks start soon.
''I missed a lot of last year with a knee injury so that didn't help me either,'' he said.
''I just need to get that footy timing and full skills range back.''