It’s been a winding journey for nib Newcastle Knights backrower Aidan Guerra as he approaches his 200th NRL match this Saturday at Bankwest Stadium, and one that’s seen the veteran go from mentee to mentor.
There are plenty of youngsters who have been lighting the field up for the Knights in 2020 such as outside backs Bradman Best and Tex Hoy and the 10-time Queensland Origin player is taking great joy in helping them along just as others did for him when he was starting his career.
“When the journey started out, I certainly didn’t believe I was going to get to 200,” Guerra told World Wide of Sports.
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“It’s [a balance of youth and experience] important to have in a side. You need experience to help those young guys.
“When I was young I had the likes of Braith Anasta and Anthony Minichiello there to usher me through. It’s not all smooth sailing when you’re young.
“It’s good for me to able to draw of my experience and talk to them about football. It’s good to be able to feed off their energy…it help keeps you young.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”
Guerra began his NRL journey in the ranks at Melbourne Storm, however never appeared for the club before moving onto the Sydney Roosters where we won a premiership and made appearances for Queensland, Italy and Australia.
After spending eight years there, the Townsville-native made the move to Newcastle, a place he admits he and his family weren’t entirely familiar with, however he’s learnt to call the Hunter home with the help of close group of players.
“We didn’t really know what to expect…there wasn’t too much about Newcastle that I knew,” he said.
“[But] we’re loving it up here in Newcastle.
“It’s a good group of boys that I’ll be playing with this weekend.”
Sitting if fifth position on the ladder, the Knights again face another challenge this Saturday in South Sydney after having obstacles dealt to them in North Queensland, Manly and Parramatta.
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Although the side only managed one victory from those three games, Guerra believes there’s been enough showings there to demonstrate the guts and grit the team possess.
“The last three weeks have typified where we are at the moment as a club,” he said.
We’ve shown potential really early, and it all was very smooth there for a while, then we’ve had three tough games.
“In attack, we know we have to grow, but I feel like we’ve got the right focus there and it’s just a matter of time.”