In the representative arena, Pat Carrigan enjoyed a season to remember, claiming not only an Origin series victory with the Queensland Maroons, but also capping off the year with the Rugby League World Cup trophy as a member of the Kangaroos squad.
However, the 2022 Wally Lewis Medal winner as the State of Origin player of the series said he had unfinished business with the Broncos and wanted to help his side press on into the finals after he spent a “pretty tough” period on the sidelines to close the NRL season, missing four of the club’s last five games after being suspended for a hip drop tackle.
Overall last year, Carrigan only featured in 14 games for Brisbane after injury ruled him out in the early parts of their season as well.
“It was a good year last year and I think I'm kind of lucky to be honest how (I) finished the end of the year; (but I) just kind of want me to get back in the swing of things here at Broncs,” Carrigan told assembled media following Brisbane's extended Monday morning training session.
“I'm eager to get back in and run out at Suncorp and we get to run out of the Gabba this year ... (I'm) excited to put on a Broncs jersey again.
“When you think about it, 14 (games) doesn't look like you did too much and tops off to the guys that get to the 300, I think I need to play 40 years at this rate (to reach that milestone).
“Obviously, I had a suspension and a little knee injury at the start of the year, but I think I need to be on the field as much as possible this year.
“I'll take the ups and downs with it, but in terms of where we're going as a club and building the connections within the group and the continuity, I think if I can be on the footy field as much as I can, that's a real important one for us.”
Saying he was “feeling fresher” since coming back from the World Cup campaign, Carrigan also said he had also learnt a lot from his time in Kangaroos camp.
“I had one good year, it doesn't make anything and there's still a lot of boxes I want to tick at the club,” Carrigan, who is due back on the field in for the club’s second Preseason Challenge match against North Queensland Cowboys, said.
Match: Broncos v Cowboys
Round 2 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
“Spending a bit of time with those Penrith boys in the World Cup and seeing the success they’ve built at that club is something I envision for us here and I want to be a part of … they make no apologies for the Penrith boys being themselves, and I think that's what I love about them; they're 36 guys who are just apologetically themselves, and I think the more you can encourage that at your club, you get different personalities, and you don't want have robots and if we can build that as a group too, then I think we can go a long way.”
With a strong squad at Red Hill being assembled that includes new signing Martin Taupau, who Carrigan said would “bring a strong mentorship” to not only himself in the forwards, but the broader group of Pasifika players at the club, Carrigan was optimistic of making the finals this year after just missing out in 2022.
Kangaroos Debutants - Patrick Carrigan
“You can't win a comp without being in the finals, so we have got to put ourselves in there to start with,” Carrigan said.
“There's 27 rounds next year and there's a lot of footy, and in my opinion, the good teams, they start year well, but they just build and get better and you see that with teams like the Chooks and Penrith, Melbourne; by the time you come to September, they're really firing.
“The perks of having a young group is that we're up and about early on and we love playing footy, but something we have got to work on as a team as well is our consistency and in the NRL, you don’t get anything for free, so we will keep building and Kev (coach Kevin Walters) has set a really good platform here that I've come back into and finals is always going to be the word every time you play at this club.
“You don't do preseason for no reason, so that's where I want to be, and that’s where the group wants to be and fingers crossed for this year.”