Former Gold Coast Titans captain Ryan James has started his career with the Canberra Raiders with a try in his new side’s 30-12 win over the Wests Tigers.
James barged his way over in the 41st minute, handing the Raiders its first lead of the match as the were never headed by the visitors.
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While it snapped a six-year, round one winning streak for the Tigers, there is so much more to the story with James.
Andrew Voss in Fox League commentary quickly laid out hardships he’s faced with two seasons out with knee injuries.
“It’s a beautiful story in rugby league,” he said. “The hardships of this man the last couple of years. Two knee reconstructions and on his return, having not played a game last year, he scores with his new club. Well done Ryan James.”
The Raiders boys got around James.Source:FOX SPORTS
The former Titans skipper played 10 seasons with the Titans, the only club the Gold Coast junior had ever played for.
In 2018, he was even part of the NSW squad for the State of Origin series, even giving Matt Prior his allotment of tickets when the former Sharks forward made his Blues debut.
His 144 games are the fifth most ever played for the club but a series of serious injuries have kept him off the field.
An ACL injury ruled him out of the 2019 season in the early rounds, before a second ACL at training saw him miss the entire 2020 season.
It was his third reconstruction.
While the Titans offered him a one-year deal to rebuild his career and the Roosters were also circling, James landed a two-year deal with Ricky Stuart and the Raiders with opportunity for more based on performance.
In an interview with Fox League that aired before the game, James revealed that he was thinking about retirement after the second ACL but said he “got over the hissy fit” and got back to work.
But he teared up when talking about his kids and a moment that solidified his drive to get back.
“We were driving past the stadium and he said ‘daddy, that’s where you play footy’,” James said. “It was just one of those things where you just want to do it again.
“My youngest fella hasn’t even seen me play footy so I want to do that for him.”
Ryan James teared up in the a pre-taped chat.Source:FOX SPORTS
He added the Raiders had given him the opportunity to play in front of his kids and that his Raiders debut would be the first time he played in front of his son.
But when he scored in the 41st minute, social media quickly erupted with praise for the star.
What a feel good moment for Ryan James!! Been a tough few years for the big man & to do that in front of your parents… special👊🏼#NRL#NRLRaidersTigers
Great work Ryan James!! Welcome back.
Bravo Ryan James, great to see you back amongst the tryscorers at your new club #raiders#perseverancepaysoff#raidersvtigers
What a great story Ryan James! #NRL
James told The Sunday Mailthe move was “one of the better things to happen to me”.
“At the time (I was disappointed), but that’s when you realise football’s a business,” he said.
“You get on with life and move on. I had to look at my longevity and how long I have left in the game.
“I got over it pretty quickly. Everyone knows I still love the majority of the people at the club. They gave me my first shot. There are a lot of people with good intentions at the club.
“It comes down to business and business decisions happen.
“I will use it (Titans stalemate) as an extra push and drive. It’s got me to where I am now.
“I had to take it on the chin and move on. The move has been one of the best decisions of my career.”
And he capped it off with a try — rugby league is a beautiful game.
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