Former Emerald product chases his dream to the NRL
Home grown Emerald rugby league product Andrew Davey has shown patience is a virtue after recently signing a two-year contract with the Manly Sea Eagles.
Davey said he wasn't sure of an exact number but it was well over 100 times that he was sat down by family or mates and told to give up on his dream of playing first grade National Rugby League.
Some would point out how many years he had been trying to crack into the NRL, he said.
The 28-year-old builder was a junior and senior with the Emerald Cowboys, played Queensland Cup for the Mackay Cutters and Townsville Blackhawks before he was given his first NRL contract by the Eels in 2019.
He earned player-of-the-year honours and a grand final spot for NSW Canterbury Cup side Wentworthville.
Davey made his NRL debut in July last year and became the fourth-oldest debutant in the history of the NRL when he ran out for Parramatta in round 10.
“With four weeks to run last year I got a call from my manager to tell me Manly were offering a two year deal,” Davey said.
The deal would keep him financially stable and independent after making a lot of sacrifices last year to play with Parramatta – walking away from his highly profitable building business and ending his long term, long-distance relationship with his partner.
Davey and he and his partner had been unable to see each other for seven months because of the NRL bubble and border closures.
“I proved I was worth it. I proved that I was capable of being an NRL player, but then I lost my partner on top of it,” he said.
“Twenty-20 was the best worst year of my life.”
Davey started pre-season with Manly on January 4 and said he would be using his heartbreak as motivation going into the 2021 NRL season.
Having given up everything to be with the Sea Eagles, he said he was heading into the club with a ‘no regrets’ attitude.
“I’ve worked my guts out to be here,” he said.
“In a few years I want to be able to look back and say I was a consistent first-grader and stamp my name as a regular first grader.”
He was welcomed to the club by senior figures like Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans, who had been “so good” to him during this year’s short pre-season period.
Emerald’s James Verzeletti, who Davey described as his biggest fan, drove 15 hours to be at his Lottoland first grade debut.
Davey’s father Lance was an electrician at Crinum mine and his mother Deanne drove Davey all over the Central Highlands as a junior. They are now based in Mackay.