Adam after elusive title
By MITCHELL DALE
DURING Adam Watson's two-year stint away from rugby league, there was one thought that kept nagging away at him.
While Watson enjoyed his break from footy, he couldn't stand the thought of not being around if the Panthers finally broke through for that elusive VB Group 2 first grade premiership.
So, spurred on by the fear of missing the Panthers' first title in 27 years, the 23-year-old backrower has returned to Rex Hardaker Oval in 2005.
"Sawtell have been getting closer to winning the competition for a few years now," Watson says.
"One of my biggest fears was that I would decide not to play and Sawtell would finally win the premiership.
"I was going to come back last year, but I didn't feel quite ready so I sat out for one more year."
But, with older brother Kris saying 2005 will be his last season, Adam reckons the time is right for a return to the fold.
"I enjoyed playing with Kris before and he has vowed this is his last year," Watson says.
"He has said that for the last few years though (before deciding to play again).
"You can never take his word (on retirement) as gospel, but in case it is his last season, I would like to be there."
While Watson still followed the club he first played for as a seven-year-old during his time off, he didn't get out to too many matches.
"I didn't watch too many games because I would get itchy feet," he says.
"I didn't want to come back halfway through the season either, I always said that if I played again, it be from the start."
Since the hard-running backrower last pulled on a Panthers jersey, there have been a few changes around Rex Hardaker Oval.
For one, Sawtell have a new captain-coach, Craig Wallace.
"Having Craig as captain-coach works well," Watson says.
"I think it is good having the coach out there playing with you instead of preaching to you from the sidelines.
"There are a few fresh new faces at the club, but there are also a lot of players who I have grown up playing with.
"I have played a lot of footy with guys like Neal McCarthy, Scott Moody, Damien Irvine and Dave Wylie."
While 2005 may not necessarily be Kris Watson's last, with names like Adam Watson and Scott Moody returning to the Panthers' player list, it could well be the year they finally end their quest for a VB Group 2 premiership.