James Curgenven wasn’t going to let a broken thumb stand in the way of his first grand final win.
The Gundagai centre broke his thumb in the last round of the season, but was determined to keep his place in the team.
Kicking off a massive party in Gundagai with a 13-6 win over Southcity in the Group Nine grand final on Saturday, the Englishman revealed the extent he went through to be part of the big day.
“I’ve been playing for a couple of weeks with a broken thumb,” Curgenven said.
“I broke it in the Albury game but the club needed me to do what I needed to.”
The grand final win made the pain all worthwhile.
“I’ve played hard, I’ve played busted but it is a great feeling to finally get the win,” Curgenven said.
“It has been a great experience with Gundagai and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Coming to Wagga five years ago as a rugby union player, Curgenven tried his hand at rugby league last season.
After helping Wagga City through to a grand final in 2016, the Englishman linked with Tumut but things didn’t go to plan.
Struggling to make the transition due to travel and work commitments, the 34-year-old returned to the Boiled Lollies midway through last season.
He missed their last two finals after being involved in a car accident however he was determined to give Group Nine another shot.
Gundagai has been a good fit this year.
“I’ve loved every minute of it and Gundagai have been a fantastic club,” Curgenven said.
“Smarty (James Smart) has spent a lot of time with me doing stuff outside of the gym to make sure I could really hit the straps running.
“It has been a fantastic experience for me.”
Curgenven will be 35 before the next football season rolls around and the grand final win could be the perfect swansong.
However he’s not sure what lies ahead.
“I’m a little bit older, a little bit busted and I’m really going to have a think about what I’m going to do next year,” he said.
“I’m going to let myself recover and figure out where my head is at.
“It might be coaching but I’m 34 and have been playing rugby for a long time.”
After making the shift to the 13-man game, Curgenven said the year provided many challenges.
“It’s been a tough year with injuries and it has definitely been an eye-opener for me this year,” he said.
“I’ve got the result that I wanted.”