Brumbies youngster Ross staying ready for rugby’s return
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COVID-19 has seen his budding professional career put on hold, but ACT Brumbies prop Tom Ross is staying ready for when rugby returns.
A Canberra native and the nephew of Raiders and NRL Hall of Fame member Bradley Clyde, Ross has had a ball in his hands for as long as he can remember.
At just 21 years of age, Ross’ rugby career was only beginning to take off, when sport and life as we know it was rocked by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It sucks that everything had to stop when I was just getting going,” Ross admitted.
“Me not being able to play rugby is minuscule compared to what people around the world are going through, but it is hard.”
“Apart from injury, I’ve never experienced this. Not being able to play sport, or even just have sport in my life.”
“At my club, there are guys who have played rugby for 30 years. Not having that outlet is something we’re all struggling with. Again, it’s nothing compared to what nurses and those affected are dealing with.”
Ross’ time in rugby limbo has been mostly spent in his textbooks. As a budding sports journalist, the prop says even if he wasn’t a professional player, his life would still be dominated by sport.
After enduring a string of injuries in his early career, Ross says he has become keenly aware of the fragility of his dream — playing sport at the highest level, in his time away from the field.
“I think I appreciate what I get to do now more than ever,” Ross explained.
“I wouldn’t say I took it for granted, but you just don’t think sometimes how lucky you are because you’re so focused on training and performing.”
“Like, even just the fact you get to go to work every day with forty-odd of your best mates.”
“There’s a bond you form that’s really special and it was like one day everything’s normal and we’re training and the next day, you’re at home on your own trying to keep fit.”
Having only played 10 total minutes in his first year in Super Rugby, Ross had managed to break into the Brumbies regular matchday squad in 2020, playing fifty minutes off the bench for the ACT side in their final game before the suspension of the season.
For Ross, that game was the culmination of a journey which started on the fields of Daramalan College. Making the ranks in any professional sport is exceedingly difficult and Ross had done it tough, suffering from injury just as he was beginning to break through as a teenager.
“I’ve had setbacks before this,” Ross said.
“You’ve just got to keep going and realise there’s an end goal you’re working towards and not get bogged down in the grind of it all.”
“In a way, this is more frustrating because it’s not an injury. I’m fit and healthy, wanting to play but we can’t.”
“I suppose you have to maintain some kind of perspective always. As I said before, we’re privileged to play rugby for a living and we know that sport will be back sooner rather than later.”
For now, Ross will have to bide his time. Though the NRL is planning a late May return date, Ross and his Brumbies teammates wait for clarification on the restart of their season.
With nothing more than a small set of weights, and some open grass near his family home, Ross is staying ready so he can kickstart his career once again.
“I’ve had that taste now of the top level,” Ross explained.
“The only thing I can control right now is looking after my health and staying fit.”
“My only goal right now is to be ready for when the season starts again, so that if I get another opportunity I can take it.”
Plus500 Brumbies prop Tom Ross aka Big Red talks personal ratings, confusing trends and more in Episode 1 of Royal Flush ♥️🃏 #BrumbiesFamily
— Plus500 Brumbies (@BrumbiesRugby) August 5, 2019