When Nathan Watts sang the victory song at Suncorp Stadium on Intrust Super Cup grand final day, he sang it just a bit louder than his team-mates.
Six weeks prior to the finals series, the robust front rower thought he may not play again in 2018 after badly breaking his jaw in the Country Week game against Easts Tigers in Goondiwindi.
The Dolphins junior sustained multiple fractures in his lower jaw from an accidental clash with one of the opposing forwards.
Surgery to insert metal plates and an intense rehabilitation followed.
With such a short time between the Round 19 match and the start of the finals; there was uncertainty about whether Watts would be back.
Coach Adam Mogg praised Watts’ commitment and determination to get back playing.
“Nathan worked really hard, that is a fact. Everyone on the club’s medical team can take a bow too as they worked with Nathan to get him on the field for the major semi against Burleigh at Dolphin Stadium.”
Watts returned in spectacular fashion – and according to his coach – was one of the best players against the Bears and a big reason why the club claimed their spot in the grand final at Suncorp Stadium a couple of weeks later.
“Nathan only missed one tackle in the major semi and played about 60 minutes in what was probably the most physical match of the season,” Mogg said.
“This was a huge effort considering the scale of the injury and the amount of time he was out of the game for.”
Watts has re-signed for 2019 and is ready to go around again for the club where it all began for him.
He joins what is set to be a formidable forward pack at the club next season who have recently re-signed Jamil Hopoate and lured Mackay Cutters duo Jordan Grant and Nick Brown to the club.
Grant was Mackay’s Player of the Year winner for 2018 and is currently taking part in pre-season training with the Brisbane Broncos.