After an impressive year of personal gains ended in disappointment, Brisbane Broncos and Kangaroos back-rower Patrick Carrigan is ready to go to another level next year as the Queensland club target a premiership.
Carrigan's development took massive steps in 2022, with his first appearance at State of Origin level resulting in a series victory and the Wally Lewis Medal. Combined with the Broncos winning streak that brought them to the cusp of a finals return, and things were going brilliantly.
But come Round 20, things changed on a dime, with Carrigan found guilty of a hip drop challenge that would see him miss four vital weeks as the Broncos crashed and burned.
The young Broncos is using that disappointment to drive him on to greater things – not just for the Kangaroos at the World Cup, but for the Broncos' prospects next year.
“It was disappointing from a club perspective and it was tough to sit there (suspended) and watch and know I couldn't contribute in the best way possible,” Carrigan told the Daily Telegraph.
“While I wanted to play finals footy this year, it's a blessing in disguise for us. We'll take some key lessons and learnings out of this year to make us better next year.
“It's got me excited and hungrier for next year. I know the boys are going to be putting in through the pre-season for us to challenge the top sides next year.”
In the meantime, Carrigan is looking to absorb all the wisdom he can as the only Bronco in Mal Meninga's Kangaroos squad.
“I'm grateful to be here in camp with a lot of players and some pretty good forwards, especially locks. I want to watch and learn and not get complacent.
“I want to keep getting better and have success with the club next year.”