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One day as a Storm player, but Booth will be back

Easts Tigers hooker Aaron Booth knows firsthand just how much things can change in the space of a day and he is also acutely aware of just how lucky he is.

With the county’s situation changing daily and with people’s health and livelihoods at top of mind,  Booth looked back on a whirlwind few days that set his life onto a new trajectory going forward.

After driving down to Victoria and arriving on Sunday, March 22; Booth was training the next day on Monday with his new team the Melbourne Storm, after securing a contract with the NRL club.

However, then came the announcement of both the suspension of the NRL season, and the impending closure of the Queensland border to non-essential interstate travellers, meaning Booth had to put that dream on hold for the time being and quickly return home.

His signing came after the confirmation of the historic player swap undertaken by Melbourne and Wests Tigers with Harry Grant and Paul Momirovski, meaning the Storm had a space open up to bring in the talented rake.

Aaron Booth on the Easts Tigers bench in Round 1. Photo: Mel Tabet / QRL
Aaron Booth on the Easts Tigers bench in Round 1. Photo: Mel Tabet / QRL

“I’ve known since the initial attempt at Harry and Paul’s loan deal a few months ago (of a potential move to Melbourne), so it’s been dangling just out of reach for a little while,” Booth said.

“For the last three-four weeks though, as far as I knew, I would be staying in Brisbane for the season until (that) Thursday, when I got a call to be in Melbourne by the Monday, which meant a crazy day of packing before two long days on the road! 

“I had been informed two days earlier about the QRL shutdown (of statewide competitions), so it had been a strange few days.

“The call (from Melbourne) came through which was obviously exciting, but partly relieving also, knowing that I would be training again.

“I was aware of the potential risk the NRL would suspend the season, but I didn’t once hesitate on making the commitment to move down.

“Unfortunately, that happened after one session on the Monday.

“I’m just grateful to be in the position I am with this opportunity, especially given what the majority of people are going through at the moment.”

Inside Storm: Episode 1 - I Don't Quit

After an impressive pre-season stint with the Storm which no doubt set him on the path to his signing, Booth spoke about his desire to perform well for the Tigers this year, but also allowed himself to hope that his efforts would help him make footy “a full-time gig one day”, where he could forgo the challenge of balancing training, playing and working to instead focus on his game.

“Spending all day just on your craft, it was cool to experience that,” Booth said of the opportunity to hone his skills in a full-time system as part of his pre-season in Melbourne.

And while this has been put on hold for now after only one day in his new colours, Booth was making sure he would be ready to go the moment the NRL and training got the green light to kick off again.

“I have a bunch of programs to follow from Melbourne, Easts and some personal trainer mates, so (I am doing) a mix of body weight workouts, with whatever weights I can get a hold of,” Booth said of his current fitness regime.

“And, I am still getting down the oval to run and throw a ball around.”

Read more at the Melbourne Storm website