Aquis Titans centre Brad Tighe may not have had a fortunate injury-run in what looks like being the last of his 11 seasons in the NRL.
But his influence on several young players in the club is immense and he leaves with little regret that he headed to the Gold Coast in the well-publicised swap with Jamaal Idris in early 2014.
The 31–year-old who has been a consistent performer in 171 NRL games since making his debut for the Knights in round two of 2005.
A luckless run with injury saw him play just 14 games in his two seasons here, five this year. But he never looked out of place right to the end and coach Neil Henry had complete faith by throwing him into the centres for the final two matches of the season after he recovered from a hamstring injury.
It has been the circumstance of Tighe’s injuries that have been unusual as much as frustrating.
In 2014 he suffered a shoulder injury while scoring a remarkable try against Melbourne at AAMI Park in round five and returned for just four more games at the back end of the season.
This year he hurt the shoulder again when he was within a centimetre of scoring the Titans’ try of the season, against the Bulldogs in round 14, taken into touch by an incredible cover tackle by Moses Mbye after Tighe was put into the clear brilliantly by James Roberts.
In between he suffered a rib cartilage injury in the opening round for Burleigh Bears this season and then in the first five minutes of his return game from the shoulder injury, again for the Bears.
“It hasn’t been the best time with injuries over the last two seasons but I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” he said. “The club has been really welcoming and I’ve loved every minute of being here.
“I wish I could have played more footy but injuries are part of the game which you have to accept.
“I was really happy to get back for the last two games and play in the victory over the Dragons in the last game of the year.”
What has given Tighe great satisfaction has been the emergence of fellow centre James Roberts for whom Tighe has been a strong positive influence.
Roberts followed him from Penrith a few weeks after Tighe’s arrival after a disciplinary issue while at the Panthers. Tighe took on the role of mentor for not just Roberts but with other indigenous players at the Titans and has left a lasting legacy.
“I had a lot to do with Jimmy since Penrith days and to see him develop into the player and person he is now is very rewarding,” he said.
“He still has a way to go but he’s headed in right directions and will be a superstar one day.
“He’s settled now, has a great a partner in Anna and is concentrating more on his footy. And, with a kid on the way and a new contract, he has a lot of responsibility now.
“He has the world at his feet and if he puts his head down and gets everything in order on and off the field, he can be anything in rugby league.”
Strength and conditioning coach Dan Ferris also paid tribute to Tighe’s ethic and determination in the rehab group when recovering from injuries. “He was a leader in that group and often kept them motivated with his attitude,” said Ferris. “He’s quiet but leads by example.”
Tighe will return to Newcastle, where his NRL journey began as a teenager after leaving Tamworth, at the end of the year.
BRAD TIGHE’S 2015 SEASON
Avg metres per game: 81
Avg tackles: 8
Career stats: Games – 171; tries – 65.
NEXT: Anthony Don