After scoring two tries in his NRL debut, St George Illawarra winger Cody Ramsey revealed how close he had been to quitting the game because of the demands of a 16-hour day as he juggled work, study and training.
“I wanted to go home 1000 times but mum told me to stick it out,” Ramsey said after his team's 37-8 loss to the Raiders.
“I had packed my bags but she just told me, ‘remember why you are up here’. I think about it all the time.”
With his mother Kim among 67 relatives and friends who had travelled from Orange and Molong in NSW’s Central West to WIN Stadium to watch Ramsey play against Canberra, he was glad he took her advice after an impressive debut.
However, the 20-year-old admitted he had struggled to combine work as a mechanical plumber at Ryde in Sydney’s north-west with training in Wollongong for the Dragons, while living at Heathcote on the southern fringe of the city.
“I was getting up at 4.30am and getting home at 8.30pm four days per week for a good year straight,” he said.
“I just had no one up here and I was a bit lost.”
Match Highlights: Dragons v Raiders
The leading try scorer at February’s NRL Nines in Perth, Ramsey underwent shoulder surgery and only returned to the St George Illawarra bubble in July at the urging of recently departed coach Paul McGregor and interim coach Dean Young.
He hadn’t expected to play this season but Young was impressed by the effort Ramsey showed at training and believed he deserved a chance now.
“He is what this club should be about, a bloke who turns up and tries his hardest at training every day and as you all saw today he tries that hard in the game as well,” Young said.
“Pat Gibson who coached our SG Ball team found him out near Orange way and gave him an opportunity to play on the wing. He has stayed in the system ever since.
“He was getting up at 4am, working all day, coming to Wollongong for training, was the best trainer in the under 20s and getting home at 8.30pm or 9pm, then doing it all over again.
“This year we all got excited about what he delivered at the Nines, then he did his shoulder and he has fought his way back and earned his way into the team through determination and competing at training.”
Ramsey scored on his first touch of the ball in the 17th minute of the match and crossed again in the 36th minute but had a third try disallowed just before half-time when referee Adam Gee ruled Zac Lomax had been offside.
Ramsey has a double on debut
Besides his two tries, Ramsey was pleased to be able to see his parents Kim and David, along with younger sisters Alyze and Jameson and brothers Chase and Dylan, for the first time since March due to the NRL’s strict bio-security protocols.
“When Deano bought me into the office on Tuesday I was expecting to pay my coffee bill if I am being honest,” he said.
“I was shocked and I wasn’t expecting it at all but I was so happy my family got to come.
“I think there was about 67 people coming from Orange and Molong so there was a big crowd and I could hear them from the sideline.”