Despite Ryan James retiring from the NRL at the end of the season, the Brisbane prop is adamant this won't be his rugby league swan song.
The former Titan and Raider will hang up his boots after his one-year stint with the Broncos, before undertaking a gap year of sorts, and eventually returning to finish his rugby league career in Europe.
Set to complete his masters in business administration at Bond University next year, James is firmly set on retaining his spot in Brisbane's 17 heading into September, having played just one finals game across his 13-year career.
“I don’t know yet. I’ve had a lot of time off the last couple of years. We’ll see how the body holds up," James told News Corp.
“I wouldn’t mind doing a stint overseas at some stage but I’ve also got a masters degree to finish.
“I’m taking every week as it comes. If I get to play NRL it’s a bonus. Hopefully I can hold my spot now. I’ve played one final in 13 years and it was against the Broncos. To get out there and play some finals footy would be good.
“I just want to make sure I can help the boys and do my job.”
James has his eyes set on a second-division stint in France after he completes his degree, handing his young family an opportunity to live overseas before the middle forward returns to the Gold Coast to settle into post-football life.
While a combination of mixed form and injuries has seen the prop feature in just nine NRL games in 2022, the former Indigenous All Stars forward hopes that his experience will rub off on the younger players in the run to September.
“Kevvie gave me the tap on the shoulder the day before the game and it was great to get out there and play. Hopefully I can hold my spot now.
“It was an easy job for me when you’re starting with Payne and Fleg. They’re younger and can run harder so my job is to clean up in defence.
“I want to give it the best I can and leave a good mark on the club. I want to show the young fellas what it takes to play week-in, week-out.
“I obviously haven’t played every week but hopefully my impact off the field has rubbed off on some of the boys.”
James has been named on the bench for the Broncos' clash with Melbourne, as Brisbane look to cement their return to finals footy in 2022.