Home Australia How Justin Olam, the NRL’s most dangerous bodyguard, put the thunder back in his football

How Justin Olam, the NRL’s most dangerous bodyguard, put the thunder back in his football

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How Justin Olam, the NRL's most dangerous bodyguard, put the thunder back in his football

In the blood and thunder world of the NRL, every young playmaker needs a bodyguard and the Wests Tigers’ battalion of budding stars have one of the best in the business – reborn center Justin Olam.

Every team the Tigers face will look to attack the club’s rookies, whether it be Lachlan Galvin in the club’s recent back-to-back wins or Latu Fainu this weekend against the Dolphins. This is how this game is played.

But now that Olam has recovered from the injuries that ruined his final year in Melbourne, chasing the boys is at his own risk because the Papua New Guinea center has once again hit his opponents so hard they will feel it for years to come. later on cold mornings.

“I don’t go out looking for him, but sometimes it has to happen. I have a young medium (Galvin) with me and I do my best to protect him, I don’t want him to be bullied because he is a good kid,” Olam said.

“He still has a lot to learn, but you can’t question his effort and his heart. He’s a mentally strong kid and he has a long way to go, but he has a really bright future.”

Olam has been outstanding in two games as a Tiger and not just with his protection work.

He has scored three tries, including a double in the epic win over Parramatta on Monday, and is averaging 161 meters per game. Doubts about him moving to the Tigers now seem totally misplaced.

These questions were somewhat justified over the summer: from the outside, Olam’s recruitment looked like a risk. At age 30, his career was at something of a crossroads.

He endured a difficult season at the Storm last season, spending time in reserve grade for the first time in five years and rarely looking like the physical force of the past.

His own body, which had helped him level many opponents in the past on his way to becoming one of the best centers in the game, was simply not cooperating with his tough style.

An injury to the inductor slowed him down in the preseason and he broke his arm in a test match, but the big one was a problem in his left knee that bothered him all season.

Tough to a fault, he played regardless, to the point where he had to have his leg drained due to fluid buildup under his kneecap.

Over time, he began to weaken his quadriceps, which took away the strength and explosiveness that made him so dangerous.

But a renewed focus at the Tigers has made a difference, with Olam once again transforming into the type of player who can inspire fear in the opposition on both sides of the ball.

“Last year I wasn’t myself and I didn’t really do preseason this year, I was just taking care of my knee. I don’t know how I go out and play, I guess it’s just an experience.” “Olam said.

“I can feel the difference (in my knee), it’s a lot better. It’s still there, but I get it done. The physio team is doing a very good job with me, when I need a day off they give me a day off.

“They understand that I am injured and that helps me, and when they do that for me, I want to play for them, that shows that they are on my side. It makes me want to give back to the club.”

So far, the pride of Papua New Guinea is doing just that. He not only takes care of young people in the countryside, but also shows them the way out of it.

The journey from the village of Gon in the PNG highlands to NRL stardom was a long one and Olam could never have achieved it without the kind of tenacity and resilience the Tigers are now trying to make their trademark.

“There are a lot of young people out there, so I’m trying to play the role of a veteran, show them how to win and lead through my actions,” Olam said.

“We have to be resilient, even if we are depressed and things are not going our way, we have to keep fighting.

“Keep doing the little things well, work hard, do it and you can change anything.

“It’s easy to say, but to go out and do it, that’s the hard part, that’s what they’re learning.

“We weren’t good in some areas (against the Eels), but our effort, the way we looked after each other, how we played for each other, that was definitely there.”

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