Coming off a premiership with Gundagai, James Curgenven is heading back to rugby union.
The Englishman played through Gundagai’s grand final win, and the entire Group Nine finals series, with a broken thumb and it’s part of the reason he won’t be there for the another season.
However he’s unsure of what role he will have in his return to Wagga City.
“I have applied for the coaching role at Wagga City and have an interview for that, but how I feel with my hand will depend on if I’m going to play or not,” Curgenven said.
“I’ve still got a little bit of rehab to go yet, so I’m not in the clear with my thumb, but I am definitely going to be part of Wagga City in way.
“We will just see what that comes back to.”
Not only was Curgenven hampered by the thumb issue late in the season, but picked up a ribs complaint early in the season plus handed over the goalkicking responsibilities due to bone bruising in his foot.
“I just had little niggling injuries all through the year,” he said.
“By the end of the year I was pretty wounded but I wanted to make sure we got that final grand final win.
“We obviously got that, and it was an amazing experience, and I wouldn’t have like to do it with any other blokes as Gundagai are a fantastic club but I think it is time for me to look at getting into a bit of coaching.”
Curgenven arrived at Wagga City in 2014 and was part of their run to the Southern Inland grand final in 2016.
However he decided to have a crack at league in 2017 and joined Tumut, only to return halfway through the season.
The move to Gundagai was much more successful, but the 34-year-old didn’t think his body was up to the rigours of another season.
“I spoke to Gundagai probably a month ago and said I didn’t think I was going to be able to match the physicality of league,” Curgenven said.
“It is a lot higher, I feel, than union.
“With the amount of injuries I have had this year it was a long, long season.
“I needed to let my body heal, and it is still doing that.
“I just didn’t feel I was going to give Gundagai the commitment they need to win the grand final again.
“That’s the reason I’m not going back and if I was fit enough I’d probably do it again.”
After making the Southern Inland grand final in 2016 and the preliminary final in 2017, Wagga City had a horror in 2018.
They failed to win a game in first grade and Curgenven hopes his presence can help rebuild the Boiled Lollies.
Curgenven could be one of a number of familiar faces back at the club with Rory Sheard, Hamish Wrafter and former captain Justin Sheridan all potentially returning.
It means Gundagai will be looking to fill two roles vacated by centre.
With Curgenven leaving and Damian Willis retiring it is an area the Tigers are looking to build up.
However new coach Adam Perry said the club hadn’t progressed far with plans of a potential replacement.