State of Mind: “It’s okay to speak and it’s okay to not be okay”

Josh McAllister

The big, friendly giant of rugby league; also known as Eorl Crabtree. The 6ft 5 player was the pinnacle of a forward within the sport and now he does all his talking off the field.

Crabtree was also a big part of the face of the Trojan Horse video, used to promote the State of Mind themed Super League round back in 2013, and continues to be a big believer of mental health and wellbeing on and off the pitch.

The Huddersfield Giants legend made his debut in 2001 and was a crucial part of the Yorkshire side for his 18-year career, including a League Leader’s Shield.

Once a Super League Dream Team prop in 2013, Crabtree is now one of the greatest ambassadors of the game, still working with his hometown team away from the playing field.

“I always wanted to play for Huddersfield,” admitted Crabtree.

“I decided not to move and it’s not something I worry about at night, I sleep quite well knowing I played for my hometown for 18 years and played over 400 games.

“It means a lot more than chasing a trophy, so I try to do the best I could by the club. I want to see the club succeed and be successful and that’s why I’m still here.”

State of Mind broke the World Record of the largest mental health awareness lesson at the Halliwell Jones Stadium last week, and their great work continues to lead the way in any sport.

“It’s massively important in every aspect of life, not just within rugby league,” said Crabtree.

“The fact that its transferable within rugby league is because you know a lot of these players take the pressure home with them as well.”

“You learn how to deal with problems and different coping strategies and talking about the issues, which one of the biggest problems associated with mental health.

“The good thing at the moment is that society is almost expecting it a little bit. It’s something that is talked about, especially with blokes who have struggled in the past who are now putting their hands up and admitting it and being able to speak out about it to people, something that they should do.

“It’s massive.  We are far too much seeing people struggle on their own. It’s okay to speak and it’s okay to not be okay. I hope and pray more people do talk about it.”

The theme of this year’s Super League State of Mind round is Offload. Offload is a mental fitness programme that invites men to come and see how professional rugby league clubs manage and coach players in a range of ways to improve their mental fitness.

We asked Eorl about some of the best offloads he has seen within the game.

“Best offload, apart from myself?!” Crabtree joked.

“David Faiumu and great players like David Solomona. They both had great offloads, but the one that stands out is David Faiumu. He had a ridiculous left foot step and left arm offload and you just couldn’t stop him. It was ridiculous. He was a freak.

“He practised all the time and the good thing about it is when they’re on your team. It’s amazing. I was really lucky to play alongside someone like him as he made you look good.

“When Solomona was playing had a really good offload. Adam Cuthbertson also one of the best. Solomona passed in some weird and wonderful positions. It was really tough to handle.

State of Mind round will see the Huddersfield Giants face the Catalans Dragons, which is free admission for all fans.