Toby Rudolf of the Sharks passes the ball during the Cronulla Sharks NRL training session at UWA Sports Park on February 13, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Feb. 12, 2020 - Source: Getty Images AsiaPac)

Cronulla star Toby Rudolf has opened up on his decision to sign with the Sharks following a planned move to New Zealand that “went belly up”.

The 24-year-old has become a key player for the Sharks as they prepare for their elimination final against Canberra on Saturday night.

Watch the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals on a Kayo 14 day free trial with every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. Or, Telstra customers get $10 off Kayo per month for 12 months. Stream instantly!

For many Cronulla fans, Rudolf has been a shining light, but no greater support comes from his mum, Susan.

“I was more than happy to go to the Warriors when the deal was done but everything went belly up with the family,” Rudolf told The Sydney Morning Herald. 

Rudolf’s mum is legally blind and has battled an eye condition since birth.

Following the coronavirus outbreak, Rudolf looked to take care of his mum, while his older brother returned to Australia to look after his grandmother, Erika, who battles esophageal cancer (cancer of the esophagus).

Rudolf’s grandmother was diagnosed shortly after he agreed to a deal with the Warriors.

“I grew up in Maroubra in a housing commission estate,” he said. “Mum, she raised me by myself, she was a single mum and was everything to me – mum and dad. She was my whole world, she still is.”

We had to walk to the shops, walk to the beach, walk to any footy game,” he said. “Any friends that had a car, that’s how we’d get around for long-distance trips but usually it was just walking with mum everywhere.

“It’s that sort of stuff that builds you into the person I am today and the player I am today as well.”

Rudolf added his love for watching Sydney with his grandma as a kid, even though she wasn;’t too familiar with the rules.

“She’s still a bit iffy on them [the rules] 10 years later,” he said. “She had no idea about footy until I started watching it when I was like eight years old.

“I don’t think she’d know the difference if I was coming last or coming first, she’s just happy that I am happy.”