After the NSW Cup Knights’ tough 26-24 victory over the Newtown Jets at Hunter Stadium in Round 25, Tyler Randell was understandably satisfied and content.
But his day was to be more eventful and memorable than first expected when he was called upon at the eleventh hour to make his NRL debut.
Hooker Travis Waddell became unwell in the team warm up and was forced to pull out of the game against the Parramatta Eels, making way for the 22-year-old Aberdeen Tigers junior to step up to the plate.
“It was a bit rushed, I didn’t know I was playing until right before kick off as I played in the reserve grade game right before it,” Randell recalls.
“It was good to get my first game.
“It’s been a lifetime goal of mine and to be notified 20 minutes before the game that I was playing, I didn’t’ have time to get nervous."
After putting in more than 60 minutes in the previous NSW Cup game, the hooker’s stamina was put to the ultimate test.
“I think it was adrenalin and being happy to be debuting,” Randell admitted.
“I think if it was any other normal game I would have been a bit buggered, but because it was my first game of NRL it was just adrenalin getting me through.”
His game day proved eventful for more than one reason, after Randell suffered a nasty head clash in the second half that forced him off the field.
“I had a head clash late in the game which was a bit unfortunate because I would have liked to finish it,” he said.
“That brought me off and I got about 25 stitches just above my left eye, but it’s good now."
Fortunately he recovered well to play the following NSW Cup finals match.
The Knights’ 24-12 win over Wentworthville in the first week of the finals gifted the side a week off before taking on the Illawarra Cutters on Sunday at Leichardt Oval.
The team has used the time to recuperate and prepare for the big match, which if won, cements the Knights a place in the NSW Cup grand final.
“It’s been a bit of a down week, but when we’re here, we’re hitting the straps and training hard,” Randell said.
“We got into a full week starting on Monday."
He assured the side has enjoyed the high of its last win with team camaraderie stronger than ever.
“They’re definitely very happy this week, it’s been a bit of fun at training,” Randell said.
“Last year we were in the same situation when we were beaten by about six points
“We’ve been here before so hopefully we can get the win up and make the grand final."
The 2014 season has been a successful one for Randell and has seen achievements like his selection in the NSW Cup representative side alongside teammate Chanel Mata'utia.
“I haven’t missed a game, so I haven’t been injured so that’s a highlight and making the NSW residents team," he said.