Told you’re going to make your NRL debut is a moment most players remember well.
Going through the emotions… happiness, excitement, elation before waiting to step on the field with an anxious wait.
But the memory of getting his first run in the top grade was a little more painful than Jamie Buhrer would have liked.
Looking back, the veteran forward smiled about it. Back then, not so much.
“It’s an interesting story, not many people had a debut run like I did,” smiled Buhrer.
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It was 2010. Buhrer completed his first full pre-season for the Manly Sea Eagles.
He was under the guidance of then coach Des Hasler.
Everything was rosy. He was playing good footy in reserve grade; the team was winning, and he was being named 18th man for the NRL side.
Making his NRL debut was at the back of Buhrer’s mind, but he didn’t expect it so suddenly.
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“We were on captains run, there was a bit of talking and I didn’t quite understand what was going on,” added Buhrer.
“There was a bit of shuffling and one upset man who stormed away from Des.
“I got called over and told that I would make my debut, just the day before the game.
“Des wanted me to play against Melbourne, down in the Melbourne, and it was the peak of the Melbourne Manly rivalry.”
With little time to spare, he quickly organised the whole family to fly down.
But elation turned into disappointment.
His NRL dream so close but taken away after an excruciating 80 minutes.
Buhrer watched and waited. He sat on the bench but by the final whistle he was yet to get on the field.
It was a close encounter. Manly won 12-10.
“Straight after the game, Des has come up and consoled me,” said Buhrer.
“I was a little bit upset, but if I was to put my coaches hat on I could kind of understand.
“He said it’s not the type of game that I wanted you to come in.
It was three weeks before he got his next chance. Again, it didn’t go to plan.
“I was drafted into the 17 again to play the Titans at Brookvale oval and we ended up losing that game by eight,” maintained Buhrer.
“By the 80th minute, I still hadn’t got on the field.”
It was like his dream was being dangling above him, but he couldn’t quite reach it.
Buhrer felt mad.
“That one really upset me, I was quite angry about that one,” he said.
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“The conversation I had with Des afterwards, whilst still remaining respect, was if you’re going to pick me, play me… and if you’re not going to play me, don’t pick me.
“He accepted that he should have got me on sooner.”
Thankfully he wasn’t dropped the following week. It was against Parramatta, his junior club.
After a nervous first half on the bench, Buhrer finally got his moment.
All then was forgotten.
“I went up to him (Des) and said you’ve got to get me on, and he said yep in the 50th minute you’re going to be the first change after half time and he was true to his word,” claimed Buhrer.
“I got about 20 minutes, playing against blokes I had grown up watching.
“Nathan Hindmarsh, Fui Fui Moi Moi, Jarryd Hayne, and Daniel Mortimer who was in our SG Ball team so that was pretty good.
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“To get on the field was 15-20 minutes of me just running like a headless chook into anything.
“I was just flying into everything; my backside was hanging out when I finally got off.
“My first tackle was on big Fui Fui and I actually did a really good job and he ended up on his back so that gave me a fair bit of confidence.
“I’d finally done it.”