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Perseverance pays off in Plath's path back to play

Months of hard work and perseverance have paid off for Wynnum Manly Seagulls talent Max Plath who returns to the football field this weekend after a long stretch side-lined by injury.

Plath – who can play in the halves and as well as a hooker or lock – has been named on the bench for this weekend’s Round 16 Hastings Deering Colts clash against Sunshine Coast Falcons in what is set to be his first game of rugby league this season.

Returning from an ACL injury, which he suffered in playing for the Seagulls in their Brisbane Rugby League A Grade semi final victory last year, Plath has endured his fair share of injury setbacks in his young career.

“It’s been tough… I have had a bad run,” Plath said of his injuries.

“I did (my ACL) in BRL, in the semi-final … it’s been rough … (but it was) good timing in a sense, because as soon as I did it, I was straight into pre-season, so the coaching staff and the gym staff are highly qualified and they take good care of their players.

“I was unlucky last year, I had an infection in my elbow, so I was hospitalised before the season started… in 2019/2020 pre-season, I had an infection in my elbow and got ruled out … I was in hospital for five days, so it was pretty rough, but after that I was all ready to go, and then the season got cancelled, the whole pre-season and then that. But that’s alright – that was just a challenge.”

A famous rugby league name at the club, Plath was destined to join the Seagulls, with his father John Plath, who also played for the Brisbane Broncos, a standout performer in the red, green and white.

“(How I got started in rugby league was) I had two bigger brothers, and my older brother just wanted to play,” Plath said.

“We used to play soccer, a lot of kids play soccer coming through, but I think it was Dad pushing it, in my ear, but I would much rather be playing league than soccer.”

Max Plath at the Wynnum Manly Seagulls pre-season photo shoot. Photo: Scott Davis / QRL
Max Plath at the Wynnum Manly Seagulls pre-season photo shoot. Photo: Scott Davis / QRL

The return to the field will put him back onto a familiar path at Wynnum Manly after working his way through the grades throughout his rugby league career to date.

“I was lucky enough to come through all the grades here... I am from Capalaba Warriors and when I was around 12 came to Wynnum,” Plath, who captained the Seagulls to the 2019 Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup grand final, said.

“They take good care of you and have done a really good job building that pathway all the way through.

“We have been lucky to have good teams all the way through too, so you can get your opportunities."

Before his injuries, Plath was training with the Intrust Super Cup squad and found playing senior football in the club's premiership-winning BRL side last year to be a good development experience. 

"I was lucky enough to play some BRL last year which was good, especially just tuning your mind, getting used to the contact with bigger bodies and (the game was) a little bit faster," Plath said. 

“I was lucky enough to do pre-season with Cup squad last year and really helped me develop my body a bit more and understand the pace and the contact."

An injured Max Plath (far left) celebrates Wynnum Manly winning the 2020 Brisbane Rugby League title. Photo: Jorja Brinums / QRL
An injured Max Plath (far left) celebrates Wynnum Manly winning the 2020 Brisbane Rugby League title. Photo: Jorja Brinums / QRL

For Plath, the opportunity to play all the way through, alongside some good friends, made being part of the club even more enjoyable.

“This year is the 70th anniversary (for the club) and just the community (here), my pop is a life member here, my nana is always at the club, serving at the canteen and all of our friends – it just has such a good community feel about it,” Plath said.

“I think recently, a lot of the success has been because they really focus on working on talent coming through and there are really strong junior programs coming through.

“I have played with Harrison Graham, every grade, all the way through.

“My little brother and his mates down in the juniors are coming through and they have been to grand finals, dominating, and it’s good to see, everyone is getting around it, it’s a good vibe at Wynnum at the moment.”

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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