Pierce ready to shoulder intensity of NRL chance post injury
SAM Pierce believed two shoulder reconstructions in three years had derailed his pursuit of not only an NRL berth, but also of ever playing rugby league again.
Today, the towering Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras prop joins the Brisbane Broncos for his first session ahead of the 2014 NRL season.
On a recommendation from Capras coach Jason Hetherington, Pierce will train full-time with the Broncos up until the Christmas break - providing him an opportunity he thought would never exist.
"There was a time there where I didn't think I'd play again, let alone have an opportunity like this," Pierce said.
"Going through the rehab after the second operation I thought, 'You've got to start thinking about yourself a bit,' as you get older with work and family and things like that.
"I was weighing it up and that's when I thought I might be better off giving it away.
"But I stuck in there because it's something I love doing. Most of my mates I met here (at footy). As long as the shoulders are good I'll keep playing."
Still only 21, Pierce has six weeks ahead of him under the watch of Broncos head coach and Rockhampton product Anthony Griffin to press his claims to continue training after the break.
Currently back in training, Griffin said he was looking forward to working with the Capras' Intrust Super Cup prop, who joins the squad on a recommendation from Hetherington.
"From our point of view we wanted to give players an opportunity and Jason has got a good rap on him and he suggested he come down and train with us for a few weeks," Griffin said.
"We're happy to give him an opportunity and we'll make an assessment after a few weeks."
Griffin said Brisbane Broncos centre Jack Reed had a similar opportunity in 2011 and made such an impression he was now a regular in the NRL team.
"It's not a deal just to give someone a chance to come down and train, it's a chance for them to really push for a spot here," Griffin said.
"When we've given people an opportunity before they've really taken it."
After recently renewing their feeder club arrangement with the Capras, Griffin said he was looking forward to working with the club once again.
"We're excited about doing a new deal with the Capras and renewing our association with the club," Griffin said.
"We see them as a really valuable partner to the Broncos."