By his own admission, Chris Grevsmuhl wasn’t the easiest kid to get along with during his junior playing days in North Queensland.
Still, Neil Henry saw something special in the cheeky youngster. And now years later, Grevsmuhl is sure glad Henry did.
Grevsmuhl, 24, has plenty of people to thank after emerging from a well-documented battle with personal issues that saw him leave the Panthers before making his NRL return in Gold Coast’s last round loss to the Warriors.
Grevsmuhl says he owes a lot to Henry, especially as the Townsville-born backrower admitted he didn’t make life easy for then Cowboys coach Henry during his 2011-13 North Queensland under 20s stint.
“I had Neil at the Cowboys coming up through the grades so for him to give me an opportunity again is wonderful,” Grevsmuhl said.
“I wasn’t the easiest kid to get along with. I had a very strong personality and liked to voice my opinion compared to now.
“But I like to listen to what he (Henry) has to say now and take it on board and grow as a person.”
Henry admitted Grevsmuhl wasn’t the best student at North Queensland but could not deny his talent.
“He was a young kid with a heap of potential but he wasn’t as focused on his footy as much as he could have been to take that next step,” Henry said.
“He needed to get his out-of-football like in order, but he has done that now.
“No doubt he loves playing and that is a catalyst for a lot of his happiness – he has found that hunger to play again.”
The Titans signed Grevsmuhl on a two-year deal in March – five months after the backrower walked away from the game.
In a tumultuous 2016, Grevsmuhl left South Sydney mid-season after falling out with coach Michael Maguire and linked with Penrith, where he lasted just six months.
By season’s end Grevsmuhl had fallen out of love with the game and received a Panthers release to address his personal issues.
He ended up working on building sites in the NSW country town of Orange before rediscovering his passion playing bush footy with mates.
“I used to put so much pressure on myself when I was playing football before,” Grevsmuhl said.
“It’s a different mindset now. I can just go out and enjoy myself.”
Grevsmuhl will line up for his second Titans game on Saturday – their home clash against Canberra.
“I am not in the shape I would want to be playing football but I am enjoying every moment of it,” he said.
“Being around good blokes and having a laugh every single day – it’s what I missed the most about playing in the NRL.
“Last year I didn’t like league, I didn’t like watching it, didn’t like hearing about it away from football. Now I love watching it and everything it has to give.”