IT IS a tale Tom Humble can one day look back on with fond memories and say he was a part of it - he made the NRL.
But the former Blackwater Crushers junior isn’t stopping there – he wants more.
After debuting with the Parramatta Eels first grade side midway through the 2010 NRL season, the halfback has struggled to retain a top-ranking spot in a playing position littered with superstars throughout the game.
Now he wants back in and has set about doing everything within his power to get there.
Already his opening round hit-out with Parramatta Eels feeder club, the Wentworthville Magpies, has taken a back seat after a pre-season training injury to his calf muscle.
“It’s not the best, I’ll be out for a couple more weeks yet,” Humble said.
Twelve months on since his NRL debut against the Manly Sea Eagles in Brookvale, the older and wiser Humble said there was a sense of calm in his game which was not there before.
“I’m a bit more of patient player,” he said.
“Instead of taking the low-percentage plays all the time I have learnt to sit back and think about it a bit more.
“I don’t want to be one of those players who wants to win the game in the first five minutes.”
Humble knows better than anyone there are still critical shortfalls in his game which may be keeping him out of top-grade selection.
“I have got to improve my kicking game,” he said.
“It’s not a skill which really comes naturally to me but with my position in the halves it has got to be up to scratch.
“I know it’s just a matter of getting out there and getting in more practice – the more you kick, naturally the better you are going to get.”
The Central Queensland-born utility player is not entirely unfamiliar with a number of alternate field positions including fullback and a stint off the first-grade bench last year at hooker.
“I could probably play anywhere really,” Humble said.
But with the Eels starting their season on a high, which included a 24-16 win over the Warriors at home, Humble was realistic, saying it would be difficult to break back into the playing ranks.
“The boys haven’t been playing too badly, so it’s going to be hard,” he said.
“I’ll just have to be on top of my game.”
The Magpies on the other hand leapt off on the wrong foot with a first-round loss to Auckland Vulcans in the NSW Cup.
Humble dismissed claims of negativity at the club, saying that if anything, there was a feeling of revival.
“Overall there is a fresh sense of enthusiasm around the place,” he said.
“We’re all keen just to get in and start playing some footy and hopefully cracking it back into first-grade.”
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