Looking back on the remarkable year that was, NSWRL.com.au counts down the 10 biggest stories from the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season. At No.7, the inspirational comeback of Connor Tracey from three major surgeries and playing himself into the ISP Team of the Year.
You could forgive Connor Tracey for wanting to give the game away last year.
He didn’t play a single game during the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons as a result of three knee reconstructions, and no doubt would have been nervous the first time he pulled on the boots this year.
Ringrose Park was the venue; North Sydney were playing a trial game against the Wentworthville Magpies in what was Tracey’s long-awaited return to Rugby League.
Aside from the injuries, it was even the first time Tracey had played at a senior level.
He thankfully got through the game unscathed and the cobwebs were blown out as he prepared for what he would hope to be an injury-free season with North Sydney.
23 times he ran out for the Bears this year, and no doubt his confidence grew every time he pulled the jersey on and stepped foot on the field.
In the first 11 rounds, he broke 14 tackles. In the final 12 rounds, he broke 60.
He dominated at the back-end of the year; he even went three rounds in a row scoring a double.
The former Australian Schoolboy had a mammoth game in Round 20. Full of confidence he ran the ball for an incredible 283 metres at five-eighth and scored two tries.
The big reward for Tracey came after the season had come to a close. He was named at five-eighth in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Team of the Year.
There’s no doubt Tracey has his eyes set on an NRL debut next season, and featured in Anthony Siebold’s extended Rabbitohs squad at times this year.
He showed plenty of promise as a junior before the injury curse struck, and he certainly proved in 2018 that he didn’t lose what he brings to a side, particularly at the back-end of the year.