Slade Griffin stood in the shower, the water hiding his tears.
He was alone. Defeated.
He was a 21-year-old in Melbourne.
He’d trained his backside off and eager to impress in the first NRL trial match of 2012.
So why was he in the shower?
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He’d torn his ACL.
He was also off-contract.
An avid sports fan, Griffin knew an injury of this nature was no easy feat to overcome.
The enormity of a 12-month injury like this had rocked him.
That was until Storm Football Director Frank Ponissi found him in the showers.
“The contract I signed out of 20s was one year, with a one-year option and I did my knee in the first trial,” Griffin told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
“They could’ve just said, ‘sorry, ACL’s are kind of complicated’ but I was in the sheds like ‘oh no, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to work’ and Frank Ponissi came in, the game was still playing and said, ‘mate don’t worry about anything, just get yourself right. We’re going to sign you for next year.
“They did it with Matt Dufty and Sandor Earl. It’s a credit to the Melbourne Storm and people in that organisation for sure.
“… at the time I was stressing and it would’ve been a very stressful year not knowing if I was going to play again but he reassured me straight away.
“I knew I had one more chance.”
He didn’t waste his opportunity.
He was meticulous with his rehab and debuted in Round 1 the following season.
It was a proud moment.
Having played in four trial games, he knew he was ready.
“I had a really good pre-season and trainer really hard
“It was 40 degrees and (Dragons forward) Michael Weyman got the ball. I remember thinking ‘what am I going to do here?’
“I closed by eyes and hit him as hard as I could. We ended up having a head clash and I had a massive split on my cheek and had to get eight stitches.
“I only ended up getting to play 15 minutes by the time I got it stitched up.”