Titans backrower Kevin Proctor plays his 250th game this weekend when the Gold Coast take on the Cronulla Sharks.
From his beginnings with the Currumbin Eagles, to a premiership with the Melbourne Storm and test matches for New Zealand, Proctor reflects on his career to date.
What do you remember of your first game (2008, Melbourne Storm v St George Illawarra)?
I just remember sitting on the sideline and I was ridiculously nervous. My first game I was like a headless chook. I remember I only played about 20 or 30 minutes. I got on in the second half and I was just running around everywhere, trying to get in every tackle and take every run. Not surprisingly I was gassed after five minutes! I was full of excitement and I still remember that game. Some of the coaches probably reckon I’m still a bit like that, a headless chook, running around out there.
Who did you model your game on?
To be honest, I didn’t really model my game on any particular player. I more took tips off people who played in a similar position. At the Storm I was behind international backrowers when I started. I took tips off Ryan Hoffman, Jeremy Smith, Sika Manu and Michael Crocker was there as well so there was a fair few guys I could learn off. Crock (Michael Crocker) with his work ethic, Hoffman with his routine – as a young bloke I looked up to them. Ryan in particular, I could talk to him easily and ask him things and he was approachable to talk to and gave pointers and I just liked how he hit a line and gave his all at training and on the field. So I didn’t really model my game on anyone, but those players probably helped shape my game in the early years.
Who else had an impact on your career?
I played with Smithy (Cameron Smith), Coops (Cooper Cronk) and Bill (Billy Slater) at the Storm – they are just different humans. They are freakish at what they do and you learn a lot of stuff of them but it is hard to put into words. It is just how they carry themselves, how they study the video, how they look at the game. I was learning off them, but I was just in awe at what they’ve done. I was lucky enough to play with those guys and they are probably the other three that I looked up to playing footy and the ones who had the biggest impact on my career.
What is your proudest moment on the field?
It was an international game for New Zealand. We hadn’t beaten Australia for ten games straight and we came back, and we won that game. It was just a proud moment for me. I had gone through a bit of stuff and to come back and play like we did and win like we did it was pretty special to me. I had my family and friends and kids there – that was definitely a special one for me. The other is obviously the grand final. Playing in a grand final is the best time of your career but the most special game was that test match.
What does the 250 game milestone mean to you?
I kind of have to pinch myself. I never thought I’d get to 50 games let alone 250. I didn’t even realise until yesterday or the day before, so it does creep up a little bit but it is something that once I do finish playing I will appreciate it a bit more. I couldn’t have reached that number without my family’s support. I don’t want to make it all about me this week, we’ve got a job to do against the Sharks and we will focus on that but I am proud to get to 250 for sure.
At the end of your career, how do you hope people remember the game of Kevin Proctor?
I hope everyone who has played with me, loved playing with me. I hope I’m the person they like to play with, and they could rely on. I don’t know how to put that in words but I just want to be someone you can rely on and I hope when you ask someone about me that they say that I gave it my all every week and competed the best I could in every game.