Flair on Abbey’s Road to NRL Return
It took just nine minutes for Brad Abbey to register his first try in the Mounties jersey.
Less than five more had passed before he had his second.
The former Bulldog’s efforts in Mounties’ big round two win over the Wyong Roos were eye-catching, but the 21-year-old is already well and truly in Ricky Stuart’s NRL sights.
Playing just four games for the Belmore-based club last season, Abbey was named in Canberra’s extended NRL squad for the side’s Round 1 trip to the Gold Coast.
Though not to figure in the Raiders’ heart-breaking loss to the Titans, the live-wire outside back was far from dejected.
“I’m never overly confident, but I’m always wanting to be knocking on that door,” a humble Abbey tells NSWRL.com.au.
“As long as I’m pushing myself, pushing the guys around me, the chance to get a start sometime this year might present itself.
“Hopefully it does come soon, but I’m just going to enjoy my footy wherever I play.”
And why wouldn’t he be enjoying himself?
Just two games into new coach Ryan Carr’s coaching tenure, an obvious air of change has swept through the playing group.
The squad is closer than it has ever been before.
“It’s the brotherhood. You look around the sheds you can really see how tight we are. Having that sort of trust, having each other’s backs,” Abbey says.
“If you have that sort of connection and support off the field, that’s where and when you’ll get it on the field.
“We really just wanted to keep working hard for each other. You don’t want to be that one guy to let the rest of the boys down.”
Few were let down by their teammates in Round 2.
Forced to claw their way back from a deficit in their season opener against the Dragons, it was Mounties who made play in the clash with the Roos.
Racing out to a 20-0 first-half lead as the mercury rose into the mid-30s, the premiership favourites flexed their muscles in the eventual 36-point win.
“We spoke about that last week, just staying in that grind. To only concede six points against that team, that’s a massive effort,” Abbey says.
“We didn’t want to use the heat as an excuse, we made an effort to try to forget about it, to put it to the back of our minds.
“That’s what the pre-season is for. We’ve done a lot of fitness in this sort of heat. We just stuck to our footy, the results showed.”