Eric Grothe back in business after foray into music, corporate worlds

Comeback trail: Cronulla recruit Eric Grothe jnr. Photo: Grant Trouville
Comeback trail: Cronulla recruit Eric Grothe jnr. Photo: Grant Trouville

In the three years he has been out of the game, Eric Grothe Jnr has sat on a board, performed as a muso at packed-out gigs and dabbled in TV and radio.

But he really came off his wing while working at a mate's telecommunications company.

"That was fun, putting a suit on and going to meetings," Grothe said. "I had my first business card. BDM - business development manager. So that was a pretty special moment in my life.

"I used to hand them out to all my friends, they thought I was a dill. I've still got a whole box of them in the back of my car. That walk of life was pretty interesting but after doing that for a while it's great to be back playing footy for a living."

Grothe will make his comeback for Cronulla in their opening trial against Manly at Remondis Stadium on Friday. He'll come back a couple of kilograms leaner than the winger who made his name representing Parramatta, NSW and, for a single Test, Australia.

He will turn 34 in March but hasn't ruled out playing on for up to another three years.

"I'll listen to my body and if it's going OK I'll keep going until it's not," he said. "Hopefully I'll get a couple more years out of it, at the most maybe three. It's not uncommon these days to be playing at 35 or 36, it happens all around the world. If you're performing well, feeling good and not a burden to your team, why not?

"Music is around forever, rugby league isn't. Unless you're the great Steve Menzies."

Apart from an 11-game stint for the Roosters, Grothe has played all of his football for Parramatta. Until recently, he sat on the Eels board, and admits it will be strange to play against his former club - and that of his famous father, Eric Grothe Snr - if selected for the round five NRL encounter between the teams.

But the Shinobi frontman's first priority is to impress against the Sea Eagles, where he is likely to aim up against either David Williams or Jorge Taufua.

"The tougher the better, I need to get right in there and get amongst it," he said. "There's no point delaying the inevitable.

"I'm just keen to get out there and get some contact, I haven't played a game in three years so I need to get belted straight away to remember what it's all about.

"I'm not [nervous] at all. Someone asked me the other day and I thought, 'Yeah, I probably should be'. I'm sure I will be on the day but at the moment I feel really calm. I know it's a cliche but I really just want to get out there and see how I go."

The Shire resident's love of the game was rekindled during his sabbatical. As an Eels board member, he started watching more football and, when he felt the need to get back into shape, thought it would be easier if he had an end-goal to achieve.

"I started training, I was in a bit of a rut and was a bit unhealthy," he said. "I wasn't feeling too good about myself. It was just for general health and fitness and then I thought it would be good to have something to train for. A couple of mates were in my ear to give it another shot, so I thought 'why not?'. So here I am."

This story Eric Grothe back in business after foray into music, corporate worlds first appeared on Brisbane Times.