Madden kicking back to life on the land
RUGBY LEAGUE: As he gazes out over his parents's 5,700 acre cattle property in Duaringa, Jack Madden knows there's no place like home.
It's a change of pace for the CQ Capras' halfback who returned to the region late last year after six in Sydney's west.
While big city was invaluable for his playing career and general life, it wasn't enough.
He missed the cattle. He missed the bush. He missed home.
"I was only able to come home for a few weeks every year and every time I had to leave it was so hard," Madden told The Morning Bulletin.
"It's not that I didn't like Sydney or anything, but leaving mum and dads was really tough.
"They have a Brangus stud out there and dad is into his breeding bulls and selling them. I love the country lifestyle and working on a property. I don't mind getting my hands dirty.
"One day I'd love to have one of my own."
Madden's laidback country personalty helps his on-field game to no end. He is rarely flustered and possesses the control that halves need.
His left foot, deadly accurate kicking game is an added bonus.
He said he was still rusty and ironing out the cobwebs at his new club, though he guaranteed his best footy was on the way.
"I was a lot happier with how I went at the weekend against Mackay," he said.
"I am slowly taking the right options in attack, playing with my eyes up and what is in front of me.
"Forming new combinations is always hard and we do have plenty to work on. But we will get there."
Getting back to Mick and Tanya's Earlwood property was the catalyst, stepping foot on Browne Park capped a lifelong dream.
"I've always wanted to play for the Capras and represent my region. It means a lot to me," the former Duaringa Bulldogs junior said.
"I haven't played at Browne Park since I was at St Brendan's schoolboy days, so it has been a thrill.
"Sydney was great for my career. I learnt a hell of a lot about the game down there, especially at the Wests Tigers."
It's lucky he doesn't shy away from hard work as Madden's initiation to Capras life is as tough as they come.
The unpredictable and enthralling PNG Hunters are first, then grand finalists Redcliffe and Burleigh in a hellish opening month.
But he welcomes it.
"It will be good, I don't mind playing the better teams early on. We will mix it with them for sure."
As tough as it may be, leaving home will always be tougher.