Parramatta star Shaun Lane has vowed to win an NRL premiership ring for his childhood friend Kurt Drysdale, who is facing life as a paraplegic after a rugby league tackle gone horribly wrong.

The pair attended Endeavour Sports High in Sydney’s south together and were inseparable. After finishing the HSC, Lane was blooded into the Bulldogs’ then NYC under-20 squad. Drysdale, a promising hooker, was playing for Cabramatta in 2015 when he was left paralysed following a tackle.

His life changed in an instant and he is likely to spend his remaining days confined to a wheelchair. He also needs a respirator to help him breathe. In a sliding doors moment, Drysdale’s devastating injury also came the week before Lane was handed his NRL debut by Canterbury.

Lane has proven to be the Eels x-factor player this season and is desperate to beat the Panthers on Sunday at Accor Stadium – so his best mate can proudly wear his premiership ring.

‘The next time I visit him, I’m going with a premiership ring, how good would that be. Kurt can have selfies with the ring, that’s the plan,’ Lane told the Daily Telegraph.

Lane’s road to NRL glory hasn’t been easy. While nothing like what Drysdale has endured, he was a standout at the Bulldogs, which secured a big money move to the Warriors. After just one first grade appearance across the ditch, the talented back-rower then moved to the Sea Eagles in 2017, and showed glimpses of his talent on the left edge.

‘When I look back at how much Kurt loved football, how much he would kill to be in the position that I am, he’s been a constant motivator for me. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see what happened to him.’

It was enough for Brad Arthur to entice the gentle giant to join the Eels in 2019, and he hasn’t looked back. Lane is also firming to be named in Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos squad for the World Cup in the UK. 

Now based on the Gold Coast, Drysdale  who astute footy judges believe was good enough to play in the NRL as a hooker  will be cheering on Lane, who he is ‘so proud of.’

‘I’m a Roosters fan, but I’ll be blue and gold for the day,’ he said. ‘I desperately hope the Eels win, Laney has worked hard to be where he is and I know he won’t let Parra down. ‘I’d love nothing more than to see that ring on his finger.’


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