When Daniel Abraham slid his 2001 premiership ring on his finger, the reward was worth almost as much as his pay cheque for the game.
On a part-time deal which saw him train sporadically with the NRL side, Abraham was thrust into the first-grade side in 2000 where he played six games.
The following year, he made eight appearances including the grand final.
He was a part-timer with a premiership to his name.
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“I don’t know if it was even 50 grand, maybe, with match payments,” Abraham told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
“A few grand a game. It was enough to be comfortable but I still didn’t train with the first grade side. I trained three night a week with reserve grade.”
The week leading into the grand final, he trained with the top squad for the full week, although his opportunity came at the expense of an injured Clint Newton.
“I was playing reserve grade then Newto (Newton) broke his shoulder blade, his scapula,” Abraham recalled.
“That wasn’t far out of the semis series. And I was the guy to fill the position. I think the first semi they played Darren Albert, and he had a foot injury. He didn’t finish the game, and then I come in and played the last three games of the season.
“I played a couple of semi-finals, and then the grand final.
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“There were a few guys who were just on the fringe couldn’t crack it. I was fortunate enough that at the expense of Newto and Darren Albert there was some injuries there. I was just the right man at the right time and I got that opportunity to play in the 2001 grand final.”
Making his NRL debut in 2000, the backrower was thrown into the deep end.
At 19, Abraham was asked to play fullback.
It was a position foreign to him.
“They wanted me to play fullback, I’d never played fullback,” he said.
“I got the opportunity. I think a reflection of my attitude back then was I was offered an opportunity to play reserve grade for the Knights and all I was worried about as how much my match payment was. So, my attitude was wrong, and I had to address that quickly.”
It wasn’t until later in the year that the lightbulb went off.
“The likes of Tony Butterfield, those guys and the club, there was no time for young fellas with bad attitudes and that sort of got bumped out of you real quick and I straightened myself out a little bit,” he said.
Juggling work as a plasterer and part-time training for three years before finally landing a fulltime deal, the 2002 season was a definitive one for Abraham.
Lacking some professional habits, Ben Kennedy got in his ear and helped change his outlook towards preparation.
“Kennedy was there he and I spent a pre-season together which really changed the way I approached the game,” he said.
“He was enormous, had it not been for the likes of himself and some others, I never would have went on to play anywhere near as many games.
“Especially in a good side that we had at the time. There was a lot of influential players.”
Abraham would go on to play eight seasons for the Club.