Matt Orford started 2012 with a resolution to finish his NRL career on his terms – thus burying the most wretched year of his life.
Written off after a disastrous season at the Canberra Raiders, the veteran half has resumed full-time training alone in a bid to restore his legacy.
Speaking for the first time since he disappeared from action last May, Orford says his ill-fated return from England lit a “fire in the belly” to retire on a note more befitting a premiership-winner and Dally M medallist.
“I’ve had some success, winning a premiership and whatnot, and I’d rather finish on my terms – on a positive note rather than a negative,” Orford, 33, said.
“I don’t want to be remembered as a guy who came back from England, played six games and that was it. It’s like all the other things I’ve achieved have been swept away. That’s what gives me the fire in the belly. I want one last crack when I’m fit and ready to go.”
Orford is streetwise enough to understand there are no guarantees and has also enrolled for a Level 2 coaching course at Narrabeen.
“I’m keen to go around again: to prove what I can still do as a fully fit player,” he said. “Probably the only chance is if someone gets injured in the halves and a club doesn’t have enough depth.
“With my age and what happened in Canberra last year, I’m realistic about that.
“I’m not going to bullshit myself – and at the same time I’m not going to rule anything out.”