'Why playing two NRL games was my dream'

Josh King’s NRL rise has been interesting to say the least.

A hard working, no nonsense forward, the 23-year-old is on the verge of clocking up 50 first grade games.

The upcoming milestone is a product of sacrifice and rolling up the sleeves.

When King is dedicated to something, he sees it through.

His journey is proof of that.

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A local product, King only started playing rugby league in High School.

Prior to that he was a soccer player.

“Rugby league was always a dream and a goal but I never knew if it was going to happen,” King said.

As a teen he was selected in the Knights Academy side, that led into SG Ball and the Jersey Flegg competition.

“I played five games in 20s when I was 19,” King said.

“The next year I played pretty much all the games with the Saifiti’s and Danny Levi.”

The rise continued at a rapid rate with King’s NRL debut coming in 2016.

Juggling fulltime work as an electrician, King was in negative leave in order to do half a pre-season with the NRL squad but the sacrifice was worth it.

“I was working for Glencore in the mines in Singleton,” King said.

“My dad had a trade growing up so that always motivated me.

“I always enjoyed problem solving and maths so that’s what turned me to looking to be an electrician.

“… when I was trying to juggle my apprenticeship and footy, I was always honest with my employer.

“I’d come to them (my employer) weeks in advance and then there was never an issue.”

Not on a fulltime deal and playing reserve grade, the prop was on his way to train with the part-time squad when he received a shock phone call.

“I wasn’t even actually training with first grade when I got the call-up,” he explained.

“I was working fulltime four days a week and one day at Tafe.

“Craig Smith, who had been a pretty big part of my early career in under 20s, Browny knew I had a pretty close relationship with him. I remember driving to Cup training one afternoon from work and I got a call halfway along the express way.

“It was Smithy and we’d had a few injuries at the time and I guess the first grade side was running a little slim.

“He said ‘how would you like to come and have a run in first grade?’. I was a young kid and the dream of playing in the NRL seemed so far away.

“Obviously, I was pretty overwhelmed. I got off the phone to him and called my boss and explained the situation.”

King’s boss was supportive and a few days later he flew to Brisbane with the NRL side to make his debut.

While you could forgive King for feeling nervous, the Singleton junior admits it was his second game in the top grade that really saw the butterflies moving.

“The best thing about it is there’s not any expectation on you,” he explained.

“You’re not expected to light the world on fire.

“My dream growing up was to always play two NRL games, not one. Because if I played two it means I was good enough to come back for a second.

“MY second NRL game I was really, really, really nervous.”