Sunday, May 15, 2011
MATT Srama knows what sacrifice is.
Rugby league players are often accused of not understanding the demands of a 9 to 5 lifestyle.
However, Srama works full time, trains full time and spends two hours in his car every day driving from home to work and training, then back.
Srama, a former Ipswich Jets standout, inked a three-year $450,000 deal with the Gold Coast Titans this week despite not playing a single NRL game.
He credits the long drives from Brisbane to the Gold Coast with helping him improve his ability and securing the new deal.
“I live in Brisbane and it’s a 55 minute trip to training. I do that twice most days and it does get lonely,” Srama said.
“I spend the time in the car thinking about football.
"It’s all I think about when I’m driving and that helped my game a lot.”
Srama’s dedication has him poised to become the first Ipswich-bred footballer to debut for the Gold Coast Titans.
But that will change in the next few weeks with the talented hooker tipped to get an extended run in first grade with Titans’ regular hooker Nathan Friend out for the season.
The 20-year-old said his home town had been somewhat ignored by the Titans.
“I hope when I make the NRL, it will show young players in Ipswich that there is a pathway for them to the NRL without having to leave Ipswich,” he said.
“I have a lot of pride that I played for the Jets (2009). It means a lot to be representing Ipswich at the Titans.
“I have made so many sacrifices and when I signed that deal, I just thought about all the hard work I have done and that it was worth it.”
Srama works as a storeman in a Darra warehouse.
“Working full time is something I always wanted to do on top of training, and it’s helped my footy a lot,” he said.
“Everything is coming together and hopefully this season I will achieve my goal and play in the NRL.”
Those who have seen Srama play are instantly convinced the Forest Lake-raised kid will star at Skilled Park. His coach at the Jets, Glenn Lazarus, said he could be as good as Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith.
Titans coach John Cartwright said he was a clone of Friend.
“I think anyone who has watched him play, right from when he came from our under-18s into our under-20s, you can see who he models his game on,” Cartwright said.
“With his headgear on, he not only looks like Nathan Friend but he pretty well copies everything he does on the field.
“We thought with that sort of work ethic and with Friendy moving on, his signature became very important for us.”
Srama’s manager is also his older brother, former Jets coach Paul Srama.
Paul said Matt’s game had elements of all the NRL’s best hookers.
“He has parts of Robbie Farah, Isaac Luke, Cameron Smith and Michael Ennis in his game, he’s very well rounded,” Paul said.
“The good thing about Matty is he’s a gentlemen and a hard worker.
“Not many players work full time these days. They might study or work part time, but Matty is smart and knew he could not rely on rugby league.”
Srama hoped to open his own personal training business in the coming years.
“I like having things to do away from footy and even if I’m an NRL regular, that won’t change,” he said.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Name: Matt Srama
Date of birth: 12/01/1991.
Junior clubs: Wests Centennary Panthers/ Ipswich Jets (nine games in 2009, colts players of the year in 2008).
Position: Hooker/ five-eighth/ halfback.
Height: 178cm. Weight: 86kg.
Favourite player: Johnathan Thurston.