NRL news 2019: Reagan Campbell-Gillard injury, rock bottom, opens up on mental demons from 2018
Last year was a rocky one for Panthers prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
The 25-year-old Australia star finally made his State of Origin debut with a win over Queensland in Game 1 before his promising season was cut short by a broken jaw.
He missed five games and the final two Origin games of the series.
He returned to play in Penrith’s finals campaign, but in a brave interview with NRL.com, the Test prop has revealed he hit rock bottom as he battled to regain his confidence and form.
It took an offer for a coffee with Panthers assistant coach Peter Wallace for Campbell-Gillard to finally speak to someone about how he was feeling.
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“I was probably at rock bottom about my football, and didn’t really know how to deal with that form slump, and again, it’s just one of those things, I was trying everything I could possibly do but nothing was working,” he told NRL.com.
“When I say rock bottom, there was the personal issues that I had outside of football, so they obviously played a massive toll and it’s only a mental thing, and when you don’t really speak out or talk to someone you can just obviously bottle all that stuff up.
“And then form of football gets involved, and then you have voices coming from, you know, your coaches, players, and obviously your game and the media coming at you about your game, and just trying to deal with things like that; and obviously the personal issues outside of football — those things bottle up and I was one of those persons that would just hold all those issues inside and not speak out.
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“I’ve virtually got everything out and (I’m) talking to someone about those things, so I know how to deal with it now.
“Mind you, these issues I had virtually the whole year… outside of football, so things like that I can’t control.”
Becoming the latest player to lend his voice to the growing chorus of athletes talking about mental health and encouraging others to speak out, Campbell-Gillard said he now feels happy and excited about the new year.
Cruelly, Campbell-Gillard suffered another broken jaw in December after a headclash with teammate James Fisher-Harris, and missed the final week of training before Christmas.
However, he is aiming to be back into full contact in the coming weeks.
Originally published as ‘I was at rock bottom’: Campbell-Gillard opens up on horror season