Doyle out of Isa wilderness
TOWNSVILLE ? Working at the copper smelter at Mount Isa Mines two years ago, Rockhampton's John Doyle had every reason to think his rugby league days were behind him.
Indeed, the only sport the former Queensland Origin utility played regularly when his draining shifts were over was second division soccer.
It was a long way from his heady NRL days for North Queensland which earned him three Origin caps but came to an abrupt halt in 2002 when he retired at just 25 with an ongoing knee injury.
But in one of rugby league's great comebacks, Doyle ? now 28 ? came off the bench for his first NRL game in four years to help the Sydney Roosters claim an upset 22-18 win over his old club the Cowboys last Saturday night. "There were a few years worth of pent-up emotions coming out.
I am just happy to be back,'' Doyle said.
Doyle did not believe he would ever return to Dairy Farmers Stadium as a player but rugby league was never far from his thoughts.
"I had retired because I got frustrated with injuries and needed time off. But I finally got hungry again,'' he said. A chance conversation in Rockhampton between Doyle's father and rugby league Immortal and Roosters recruitment chief Arthur Beetson led to an unlikely NRL lifeline.
The Roosters were looking for a replacement for South Sydney-bound Stuart Webb, the back-up hooker to Craig Wing, and Doyle was looking for a second chance.
"Now I can say I gave it my best shot. This is my one opportunity to get back in so I am going to make the most of it. I am not going to do anything half-hearted ? it's make or break now.