Aidan Guerra’s journey to the NRL is unique.
A Townsville product, the former Test and Origin backrower was never expected to make it in the NRL.
So distant was the idea of rugby league as a profession, Guerra was hoping to secure a Queensland Cup level deal to move out of North Queensland.
That was until he crossed paths with the Melbourne Storm.
“I was never touted as going to be a great football player,” Guerra told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
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“It was never really on my radar, to be honest. I was playing school footy and had a good carnival, the Storm invited me to go to their captains run when they played against the Cowboys.
“That was the last I heard of them. That was middle of the season when they were up there.”
Singing this one all the way home
It wasn’t until Knights assistant coach and Guerra’s former school coach, Kristian Woolf got involved.
Guerra had received an offer from Burleigh Bears to play in the Colts competition, but Woolf told him to wait and phoned Melbourne.
A day later, Guerra was offered a deal to move to Brisbane to be part of the Storm’s development system with Norths Devils.
“I broke my ankle at the start of the second season there,” Guerra said.
“As I was in the hospital bed waiting for surgery, I got a phone call from Craig Bellamy. He said; ‘mate, I like what you’re about. Don’t stress about this injury cos next year you’ll be down with us.”
Six months later he moved to Victoria for pre-season.
He played a handful of games in the inaugural year of the under 20s competition before injury struck again.
“I broke the same ankle again. That’s my left ankle,” he said.
“I had another surgery and came back in Round 16 or 18 and played four games and broke my ankle again with the screws in it. That surgery to follow was a big one.”
Halfway through 2009 he was back on the field but his NRL pathway was blocked at the Storm.
This was a team filled with internationals.
Despite a horror run with injury, the Roosters saw potential in Guerra and made him an offer.
It was too good to refuse.
Sadly, after agreeing to move to Sydney, his cards were marked at the Storm.
Craig Bellamy was ropeable.
“He was filthy and subsequently, that pretty much ended my time with the Storm when I told him,” Guerra recalled.
“That was Round 20. We’ve spoken since but he didn’t have too much to say to me after I told him. That gave me a little more confidence because if he didn’t think I was capable, he would’ve pretty much shown me the door.
“I took that as a compliment and went to the Roosters and tried to take advantage of an opportunity.”