Russell Bawden’s tradesmen-like style of play helped set him up for life once his career ended.
However instead of a Steeden, he now has a toolbox full of equipment.
These days the former prop is based in Townsville with his wife and little boy but working life sees him travel to Brisbane regularly, where he works as a supervisor for a construction company.
Bawden played 101 games for Melbourne, scoring 23 tries between 1998-2001. He came off the bench in the 1999 premiership win over the Dragons.
Prior to moving down to Melbourne, Bawden made two appearances for the Brisbane Broncos during the 1994 NSWRL season.
It was during that time that he also began setting himself up for what lay ahead.
The hard-working player would juggle training commitments with finishing his carpentry apprenticeship.
Looking back it was a balancing act he was glad he was able to pull off.
“Definitely, I enjoyed carpentry anyway,” Bawden said.
“Football was good, a lof of fun but I was definantly happy I had a trade behind me.
“You see a lot of kids these days who have no idea what they are going to do after they play.”
After his playing career finished with the London Broncos in 2004, Bawden moved back to Melbourne where he helped run a plastic recycling factory.
However soon after he shifted back to his native Brisbane, where he spent several years plying his trade as a qualified carpenter before landing in his current occupation.
Bawden’s relationship with rugby league nowadays is a love-hate one.
He still loves the sport but has a dislike for the modern rules that have come into effect in recent time.
“It is a totally different game, I miss the biff,” he said.
However once a year the 43-year-old gets on a place and travels back down to Melbourne, giving him a chance to catch up with current players and those great mates of yester-year.
“I don’t bother them too much because I have what I have to say at the reunion, I am going again this year as well,” Bawden said.
“I keep in touch with a few people once every blue moon but I try and make sure I catch up properly with them at the reunion.”
Melbourne Storm was built in the early days by hard working people such as Bawden.
The principles players such as himself instilled at this Club no doubt live on to this very day.