JAROME Wilson remembers being ordered to meet at AAMI Park ... the rest is a blur.
Wilson spent three years at the Melbourne Storm, playing front-row in the under-18s and 20s. That also meant three pre-seasons and coach Craig Bellamy’s brutal camps in which players are deprived of sleep and pushed to the limit physically and mentally.
“The camps were a hell of a ride,” Wilson said. “We started at AAMI Park doing commando training before being bussed to St Kilda and making our way on foot to Port Melbourne. Then they took us bush and we trekked through the night to a campsite. There was no sleep, it was hard on body and mind. Looking back it was a great experience and something that has stayed with me.”
Wilson, now 25, is undertaking a different experience.
After four years in the Newcastle Rugby League at Souths and Central, Wilson has joined older brother Wendall and sister Jade at Merewether-Carlton.
He had flirted with rugby since his junior days and played a handful of games with the Greens in 2016 while playing for Central.
“My brother and sister were here and the club helped me get a job,” Wilson said. “I have a young family and Merewether helped me get me back on my feet.”
Although finding rugby “very different” Wilson has cemented a spot at the back of the Greens’ scrum.
“It was challenging coming straight into first grade,” he said. “I just try and change things up. I might run a bit wider or pick and drive. I don’t want to be predictable.”
Merewether co-coach Jode Roach believes the tackle-busting back-rower “could be anything” once he “learns how to utilise his size and skills to their full capacity”.
“The un-tapped potential in him is great,” Roach said. He is still learning the game but is getting better each week. He is a natural leader and I think he has found a bit of a home here. He is good with the boys and does the right things at the right time. He has worked really hard and picked up things quickly.”
Wilson’s older brother and tighthead prop Wendall was approached by Sydney Uni earlier this month and trained with the Students last week.
“He didn’t play but they want him to go down in the pre-season,” Jarome said. “He is my inspiration and a big part of why I am enjoying my rugby. Jade too, she is the talented one in the family.”
Wilson was again one of the Greens’ best in the 19-14 win over Maitland at Townson Oval. The win followed an unlucky 25-all draw with The Waratahs, and moved the Greens to 23 points, seven adrift of the top five. They are away to Singleton this round, then have home games against Nelson Bay and Uni.
“Our results to date don’t warrant us jumping the gun on this, but they are achievable targets each week,” Roach said.