Jamal Idris is certainly an interesting character who was never afraid to speak his mind, and his views and the way he presented himself on and off the field compared to other Rugby League players was certainly refreshing. He grew up in Forster, before moving to Sydney to further his sporting aspirations in athletics and, more notably, Rugby League. The 25-year-old made his NRL debut for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2008 at the ripe age of 18, but even then was bigger than most players on the field.
His Moment: Idris was selected on the bench in the NSW side for the first 2010 State of Origin match against Queensland. The VB Blues went down in a close and exciting 28-24 encounter that day, and various positional shifts within the squad, including Jarryd Hayne’s move to fullback and captain Kurt Gidley coming onto the bench, meant there was no room for Idris in Game II, with him named 18th man.
His Career: His single Origin appearance in 2010 was not the final representative jumper for Idris, as in 2011 he was selected to play for Australia in the ANZAC Test against New Zealand, and managed to score a try on debut. 2011 was also the final year he stayed at the Bulldogs, making the move to the Gold Coast Titans, but 2012 turned out to be a quiet year by his standards. A re-ignition of form saw Idris earn a VB Country jersey in 2013, but a hamstring injury ended his season, and ultimately his Titans career. He signed with the Panthers for the 2014 season, and the Round 6 match in the following year against Manly proved to be his last NRL match.
Where Is He Now: Idris decided to walk away from Rugby League for an indefinite period of time, taking a break to deal with personal issues. It is unknown if we will ever see big Jamal on an NRL field ever again and his interests in travelling and other off-field pursuits have taken over for the time being. He was quoted last year saying, “I’m a human being, not just a footballer,” and was even reported to be building an African orphanage in his time off. Recently, it was also reported that Jamal will return to Rugby League via the Wingham Tigers in Country Rugby League's Group 3, where he will play a charity match alongside his cousin. Whether or not it signals a return to the big stage, we wish him all the best - and will be happy to see him playing the Greatest Game of All in the future.