Picture being 24 hours away from playing the biggest game of your career and you tear your calf.
It’s towards the end of the final training run and suddenly you feel a pop.
You’re hunched over on the grass and panic sets in.
That was Todd Lowrie in 2012.
The ex-Knight was playing with Melbourne and was set to play in his second grand final.
His first appearance was in 2009, a loss to the Storm and this was his opportunity to claim a premiership ring.
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“The last thing we were doing during the session, I’d been sniped from the stands and I thought I’d done my calf,” Lowrie told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
“I went off basically with the physio straight to try get scans.
“Sydney and I came back and had a slight tear in my calf.”
That evening was a sleepless one with round the clock physio in a bid to take the field.
To complicate matters, his wife Sally was pregnant.
She was due to give birth to their daughter, Lani, a sister to their son, Sonny and stayed in Melbourne.
Fearing he was going to miss the grand final, Lowrie admits he broke down.
“I broke down a few of times,” Lowrie added.
“My positive mind frame was telling me I was going to play but I couldn’t even walk.”
As history tells us, Lowrie won a premiership ring with the Storm having beaten the Bulldogs 14-4.
While he had the most success at the Storm, his NRL journey began in Newcastle with the Knights.
A Scone junior, Lowrie worked his way through the lower grades before earning his NRL debut under Michael Hagan in 2003.
“I was at home, in a little one-bedroom unit I was living in, when Hages (Hagan) called and said I was in,” Lowrie said.
After four seasons with the Knights and more than 50 top grade games beside his name, he left for Parramatta in 2007.
It was an opportunity to reunite with Hagan who was coaching the Eels.
After a few injury hiccups, he’d prove himself to be a valuable member of the team and part of the 2009 dream run to the grand final spearheaded by Jarryd Hayne.
Unsigned at the Eels, an opportunity to join the Storm came Lowrie’s way in 2010.
While the money was slim, the chance was one too good to pass by.
“It was actually Grand Final week that I had agreed to go to Melbourne,” Lowrie added.
“It was an ordinary contract, but I saw it more as an opportunity down there.”
He left the Club after the grand final victory to start a new chapter in Auckland but his time with the Warriors was cut short due to family reasons.
Needing to return to Australia, Lowrie was exploring options in Queensland which opened the door at the Broncos.
“The family things I had going on at the time I actually had to be in Brisbane for,” Lowrie added.
“When I knew we had to come back to Australia I rang the Broncos and the Titans.
“Money wasn’t an issues, and family was number one so that’s what had to happen.”
While he played 18 games under Anthony Griffin in 2014, Wayne Bennett’s return to the Broncos the following season had Lowrie exclusively playing for Norths in the Queensland Cup.
Still feeling he had something to offer, he signed a one-year-deal to finish his career with the Knights.
It was a chance for his career to come full-circle.
That was, until an honest discussion with head coach Nathan Brown opened the door for life after football.
Lowrie announced his return to the Knights in late July of 2015 but in early November his career was over.
He retired from the game to take up a coaching role.
He started coaching the 20s in 2016 and led the team to the minor premiership last season.
“Coaching wasn’t something I wanted to do,” Lowrie said.
“But I got an opportunity to do it, coming straight out of playing and I thought I’d give it a go, I’ve got nothing to lose. I ended up enjoying it.”