TIRED of the stresses of Sydney and the difficulty of trying to crack the NRL, Manly-Warringah forward Nick Skinner yesterday admitted he couldn’t wait to get home to Wagga.
The 25-year-old was grid-locked behind representative forwards at Canberra before signing with the Sea Eagles in 2011 in hopes of cracking the top grade with some consistency.
Finding the road to first grade a little easier in Manly, Skinner played two NRL games against Gold Coast and North Queensland this season, and also scored his first try at the top level against Titans at Brookvale Oval in round 19.
But the hard work and sacrifices have taken their toll on the Southcity junior, who said he couldn’t wait to rejoin the Bulls in Group Nine next season.
“I actually can’t wait to get back,” he said.
“I think I’m just looking forward to the ease of it all. It’s obviously been tough on the edge of first grade for a while and stressing if I’m going to get picked and what’s going on contract wise, I just want to come home and play footy with my mates.”
The signing of Skinner has given Bulls a huge boost towards their Group Nine premiership plans next year, after finishing third behind grand finalists Gundagai and Albury this season.
A supporter on the sidelines at Harris Park over the past few years, Skinner said he’s looking forward to experiencing the Bulls complete turnaround from when he was last playing with the club.
“I think nearly everyone is on board again for next season, so it should be a good year,” he said.
“Before I went to Canberra and I was playing with them we were terrible, we really struggled quite a bit but the club’s turned around quite a bit under Fitzhenry.
“There’s a good culture there, it’s exciting.”
Although Skinner admits he hasn’t completely lost faith in his NRL dreams, he said there’s no way he’ll turn his back on the Bulls for anything less than a regular first grade spot.
Bulls president Steve Jones has previously revealed the club wouldn’t stand in his way if that’s the case, but Skinner insists he’s planning to come home to stay.
“I had a few opportunities this season to maybe go and do a few other things, but I’m just kind of over Sydney and the minimum wage kind of thing,” he said.