Canberra Raiders forward JJ Collins will depart the club and return home to Queensland to be with his family.
With a shortened season and tough implications because of the NRL shutdown due to the coronavirus, the 24-year old has had to make the tough decision to leave the Raiders behind to support his family, and hopes he may get another opportunity later down the track.
“My partner and I have just had our first son and it although it was a tough decision, it was one that had to be made,” Collins told raiders.com.au.
“I’m really gutted to be leaving the club, they welcomed me last year when I first arrived, and I have nothing but respect for the staff and playing group.
“The drive is still there to play first grade footy, but at this time it’s important for me to do what’s best for my family, so we’ll head back to Queensland and I’ll look for some work and hopefully another opportunity presents itself in the future.
“It’s important for me to get into a routine outside footy as that’s all I really know, so I’ll get a job and if another opportunity comes, I’ll be ready.
The family aspect is more important to Collins than the football is, which is what made the decision what it is. Collins has wished his teammates the best for the 2020 season.
“If it was just my partner and I, we would have stayed, but having a young family I had to make the tough decision to put footy on the back burner and my family first, and to provide for them I guess is my main thing in life at the moment,” he said.
“It’s going to be hard not training with the boys every day, they’re a great bunch of blokes and good playing group so I’m going to miss them.
“I think they’ll go pretty far this season and even go one better and take out the GF.”
Raiders Football Manager Matt Ford wished Collins the best in all he chooses to do and highlighted the troubles faced for players and the NRL as a whole with the COVID-19 shutdown.
“JJ has been nothing but professional in his time at the club and its really disappointing that he’s been put in a position where he can no longer see footy as a viable option for himself,” Ford said.
“He is the example of a player that’s been affected the most in this whole situation and he’s made the best decision for himself and his family at this time.
“I think it’s really important that people realise that not every NRL player is on big-money contracts and unfortunately good people like JJ are being forced out of the game. As a club, we wish JJ nothing but the best for the future and we hope he can continue his career in the future when he’s ready.”