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Seage signed unseen, replacing Robbie O and injury curse

He could well be one of the unluckiest players to ever pull on the red and blue.

But he doesn’t see it that way.

If you look at the career of former Knights fullback David Seage, it was one of bad luck and what ifs.

What if he hadn’t suffered two ACL injuries in the space of three years.

What if he hadn’t slipped out of the shower, damaging his knee just six after his first ACL surgery.

What if he hadn’t broken his hand and hyper extended his elbow in the same game.

What if?

But ask the man himself and he will tell you that he was blessed to even step foot onto an NRL field, fearing his opportunity to crack the big time had past him well before he was even recruited to the Club at the age of 23.

“It was a bit like a yo-yo,” Seage told the Knights Our Town Our Team podcast of his career.

“It was some of the best times of my life… but there were also some of the worst things I got to experience.

“There’s no regrets at all. What if isn’t the right way to put it. When I first started playing grade football in Queensland, my number one goal way to play NRL and I got to achieve that.

“To be able to say I played at the top level with a club like the Knights and at the back-end of an era with some of those Old Boys… it was probably the best four years of my life living down there and playing in that system.”

Signed by Michael Hagan off little more than reputation and the word of a mutual friend, the Queensland Cup livewire arrived at the Knights in 2003.

Earning minimum wage, Seage supplemented his income by working as a scaffolder when not at training.

“Hages gave me a call and said I’m happy to give me an opportunity without seeing me play or tape of what I’d done,” he explained.

“That’s how it happened. Hages signed me unseen and within a month I was down thee doing pre-season. It was whirlwind end of the 2003 pre-season.”

To cap off the craziness, after an impressive showing in the trials, he’d done enough to secure himself a place in the NRL side for Round 1, playing understudy to Robbie O’Davis.

“Robbie O tore his calf in the first 10 minutes of that game,” he recalled.

“Next minute I was getting thrown on. We won that night and I remember it clearly how fast it was. I pinch myself that I was playing Friday night footy in the NRL.”

But just three games into his NRL career, disaster stuck.

Seage tore his ACL against Parramatta, in the same game Andrew Johns suffered the same injury only minutes earlier.

“I went into the sheds and our doctor checked it and said it looks like you’ve done your cruciate,” Seage said.

“That’s when they told me Joey did the same thing 20 minutes earlier.

“I’d only signed for one year and when they told me it was 12-month injury I thought that could be it, I could be packing up and moving.”

Off-contract, Seage’s mind was put at ease when the Knights tabled a new two-year-deal to the injured fullback.

He and Johns had surgery on the same day and began rehab together.

But as the tale goes, his comeback wasn’t without speed bumps.

“Six weeks after the initial surgery I was at home and had a shower and went to grab my crutches and the tiles were slippery and my crutch slipped and fell away,” he said.

“Sure enough, I went to the surgeon again and I popped the graft out that they do and I was back in getting it reattached again. That put me back a fair way.

“The movement in my knee wasn’t coming back well so they booked me in for a manipulation to break up the scar tissue and two days later I got golden staff in that knee.”

Eventually Seage worked his way back and added to his NRL tally.

A broken hand and hyper-extension of the elbow were another setback.

The hamstring issues too.

Not that he ever complained.

In 2006, he played eight games in first grade, including a preliminary final against Manly.

A week prior, Andrew Johns had approached management, pushing Seage’s case for a new deal.

He inked a 12-month contract extension a week before the final but it was during that game that disaster stuck again.

“I was thinking my luck was starting to turn around,” he said.

“It all went pair shaped pretty quickly not far into that game

“That was probably the toughest (injury).

“… I remember feeling confident and hearing the crowd… I remember running out and the packed stadium and getting goose bumps.

“I had one hit up and I felt good and then five minutes into the game I pushed up the middle and I remember looking up, stepping off my right at Matt Orford and I felt my knee totally shift.

“I really couldn’t believe it. It was a bit surreal.”

Seage finished his NRL career with 16 games and five tries.