In my shoes: Josh Addo-Carr

I cannot wait to pull on the purple jersey but before I do I figured the best way for you to get to know me is to understand my story.

I've lived in a lot of different places over the last 21 years before eventually finding myself in Melbourne at the end of last year.

I was born in Blacktown, Western Sydney but spent the early years of my life in Doonside where my father’s family lives, the Addos.

Doonside was where I first picked up a football, playing for the Doonside Roos as a three-year-old.

I then moved into the city, to Earlwood, when I was four or five and lived there for about nine years, going to primary school at Undercliffe Public and playing rugby league for the Earlwood Saints.

However when high school started, things started to get really challenging.

I attended Matraville Sports High School because they were the only school that would accept me. It was a sports school and because of my football ability I received a scholarship but it was pretty tough.

If your are not familiar with Sydney, to catch a bus from Earlwood to Matraville takes two hours.

I would have to wake up at 5.30am every morning and did that for four years straight.

To be honest I wasn’t very good at school, wasn’t a bright kid in class so I just went there for the footy.

During my high school years I played club footy for La Perouse Panthers Around that same time, Under 13s, I joined the Rabbitohs and stayed with them to play SG Ball, playing in teams one year above my age group.

In my last year of SG Ball I moved to Mount Druit with my Dad and the long commutes continued.

I travelled from Mount Druit to Redfern every day to get to training, it was about a 90-minute trip.

But when I turned 16 things just weren’t working out for me. I got dropped from the Rabbitohs and actually dropped out of school all together so I moved to Brisbane with my Dad.

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I was working up there in Brisbane for a bit as a removalist, getting a bit of work experience I suppose. I hated every minute of it but it had to be done.

Eventually I got in touch with my manager again and I got an opportunity to trial with the Sharks and the Bulldogs.

I went pretty well, both teams wanted to sign me, but I chose the Sharks just because I thought it was a better opportunity.

Once I signed with the Sharks I was on the move again, this time to live with my cousin in Redfern.

My older cousin Jacob gave me the opportunity to live at his place because he could see that this could lead to something special for me.

I was living with him for the two years that I played with Cronulla’s Under-20s.

When I joined the Sharks I was starting from rock bottom.

It was pretty tough but I just tried to motivate myself and the people I lived with motivated me to just keep training hard.

I worked while I was playing Under-20s, doing laboring with my uncle but I knew I did not want to do that for the rest of my life.

After my Under-20s career with the Sharks finished I got an opportunity with Wests Tigers. I only signed for one year with them, basically a train and trial and moved in with my Aunty who lived in Leichhardt.

I was nervous because I had never played Reserve Grade or anything. I had never played against men but I just thought this could be do or die for me so I made the most of it.

I still remember the day I got told I would be making my NRL debut.

I rocked up one morning for captain’s run, it was actually one or two days after they found I had signed with Storm so I was pretty nervous coming into training.

I just thought these fellas would never let me play first grade because I had signed with Storm.

But when we went into captain’s run Jason Taylor pulled me aside and said ‘Come here mate, I need to talk to you.’

I thought he was going to give me an earful but he said, “Mate, we are going to play you tomorrow.”

I couldn’t believe him. I just kept asking him, “Are you serious!?”

I felt like crying, it was a big relief.

It felt like I was in a dream and couldn’t wait to tell my family and friends.

That first game was unreal. I remember everything.

Just running out, warming up, embracing the moment. It was at Leichhardt Oval on a Sunday afternoon, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Running out just before kick-off I remember thinking, “I am really here, I am about to play!”

I went on to play nine games last year and am so grateful to Wests Tigers.

The boys at the Tigers gave me so much confidence, just telling me to back myself and the boys here at Storm say the same thing.

They are all good blokes there at Wests, I really enjoyed my time there but the opportunity to come to Melbourne was something special.

Storm wanted to sign me back when I signed with Wests Tigers but I thought I’d stay in Sydney and try to make the most of it.

I came down to Melbourne last year to meet Craig and I thought at the time it might be best to get out of Sydney and just focus on my footy and my life.

That turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

My first day here in Melbourne I was so nervous to meet all the boys. To be honest I’m nervous everywhere I go to meet new people.

To meet the senior boys like Jesse Bromwich, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, boys like that, I couldn’t believe I was going to be able to train with these blokes let alone have the chance to play with them.

Everyone is so close and they care about your well-being. Not just about you but your family that is here as well and I think that is a big thing.

You always have someone to talk to. Everyone is a big, happy family here.

Now I can’t wait for the season to start.

I’ve trained really hard, it is by far the hardest pre-season I’ve ever done.

The boys at this Club take so much pride in the jersey and I just can’t wait to do the same thing.