With his NRL career on life support, Brenko Lee turned to Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, who is the master at saving players from the scrapheap.
Lee landed at the Storm this season, after playing at three clubs in six years, aware that it was his last chance.
Bellamy’s simple message was work hard and you will be rewarded, with Lee earning his club debut in their round four win over South Sydney.
With a 104kg, 190cm frame, Lee put some dents in the Rabbitohs defensive line just as Bellamy wanted.
“I felt like it was my last chance … the last few years at the Titans wasn’t great,” Lee said on Tuesday.
“I was very unsettled on and off the field and I’m 24 and I’ve come here knowing this could be the last roll of the dice for me and that’s how I approached the pre-season, knowing I’ve just got to give it everything I had.”
Lee said he was aware of Bellamy’s exceptional record of getting the best out of players whose careers had gone off the rails, which made the move even more enticing after his stints with the Gold Coast, Canterbury and Canberra for a total of just 54 games.
“You see guys come down here with a complicated career, they always make the most of it,” he said.
“Craig gives them an opportunity and the confidence that, with the amount of talent he’s coached, whatever he says will work.
“Before I was really unsure on everything but now I’m really confident in myself and that’s because of Craig making things real black and white, it’s real simple here.”
Against Newcastle on Saturday afternoon at Central Coast Stadium, Lee is set to line up against his cousin Edrick Lee, who scored twice in the Knights’ upset win over Canberra.
“My first cousin plays there, Edrick, so I watched their game really closely,” Lee said.
“We line up against each other so there’s going to be a few sledges going on but we’ll probably hug and kiss at the end.”
Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr made a surprise appearance at training on Tuesday despite his rib cartilage injury while skipper Cameron Smith was given the day off but is a certainty to play in round five.