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A visit from a Queensland Maroons star has given a young player in a scary situation the confidence to bounce back and return to the field much earlier than doctors expected.

A day after a trial game for North Thuringowa Devils under 12s in March, Jett Elliott-Price complained of a sore leg and in a matter of 12 hours his temperature skyrocketed and he was unable to walk.

Tests revealed he had a staph infection in his pelvis and his condition deteriorated so severely he required emergency surgery at Townsville University Hospital to treat the issue.

Jett was told it would take 10 weeks for him to get back and was feeling a bit scarred by the ordeal before Cotter gave him the surprise of his life.

“I was eating my breakfast and he walked into the room and I was just utterly shocked really,” Jett said.

“It was great. He told me about how he didn’t have an easy run (with injuries) and had to push through.

“It was a really good confidence booster, because I was really scared to play, but he just told me, ‘It’s all right, you can do it, don’t let anything stop you’.”

His dad Brett Price said Jet was “a completely different kid” after Cotter’s visit.

“I don’t know who organised it, but I’m bloody thankful he came in,” he said.

“It was immediate. Every time I went up there to see (Jett), he was more positive.

“Reuben was injured himself with his knee and that gelled with Jett a lot, and Reuben being one of his favourite players as well, made a huge difference.

“About half an hour he stayed with Jett and had a really good chat with him and let him know it’s not the end of the world and he was in the right place for the treatment.”

Enter physio Jack Johnson – who has worked with Townsville Blackhawks this year – who added to Jett’s spirits by getting a footy card to Cotter to sign.

In the end, Jett was back with his Norths teammates in early May, way ahead of schedule.

The family was also full of praise for all the staff at Townsville University Hospital who cared for Jett, and Ronald McDonald House, and delivered a gift basket to the children’s ward once he recovered to thank them for their support.

Eager Nate straight on the whistle

Budding young Mackay referee Nate Contor is loving his time on the field or on the sideline after jumping into officiating at the earliest possible moment.

The 13-year-old, who has already officiated in touch football for three years, completed his training course when he was old enough at the beginning of the year.

Now he referees at least six games per weekend and is doing a mighty job according to those on the ground, who say he is always so eager to help with anything he can.

Nate still manages to find the time to play as well at Wanderers Junior Rugby League Club.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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