Why I left my lucrative mining job for the Capras
RUGBY LEAGUE: Nathan Bassani once abandoned his promising football career to seek job security and a more established future.
He was just 18 and contracted to the Easts Tigers, the world was his oyster. But he gave it all away to commence a diesel fitting apprenticeship in the mines and never looked back.
Now 22 and fully qualified in his trade, he is attempted to make up for lost time. And so far, he is.
The days of working away in Dysart are over, no longer is he working around the clock. Before, he would be unable to train with club side Norths Chargers, merely show up on game day to play.
Luckily it was enough to catch the eye of Kim Williams.
"I was working out at Thiess, only playing for Chargers on my days off, then Kim came calling," Bassani said looking back.
"He offered me a Q Cup chance, which I thought was over. He saw something in me and the opportunity was there.
"It was difficult to give up the job to come back. The main thing was income, mines to working in town is a big wage drop."
With his partner Zandalee Anderson forever by his side, the pair committed to the Capras and Bassani knucked down.
He began pre-season training and by Round 8 was called in by Williams who at the time said Bassani was "100% what the side needed".
Bringing defensive venom and steel to the left side, he secured his position and played every game since.
His outstanding efforts rewarded after he was named the Capras rookie of the year.
"I just play my heart out and try to put in 100%," he said. "Everything is going well."
"My partner pushed me to do this and has been a huge part of my life and will continue to be.
"I'm really proud of the year I've had even though I surprised myself. Once I got the opportunity I didn't look back.
"I got so many messages before my debut (against Wynnum-Manly) my father came down from Cairns, my partner was there and another mate from Gladstone."
Bassani, who is still pinching himself at where he is at, said the award was particularly special given his dramatic 12 months.
"Next year I just want to improve the little one percenters, I pride myself on my one on one defence," he said.
"I want to best my opposing centre, I hate missing tackles.
"I'd like to improve my attack a little but I am really happy with how I went.
"I wasn't expecting an award at all, it was a shock. Billy Gilbert would have pushed me close, he had a great year."