Thomas Minns was over the moon to play his first game in 1,065 days and is now aiming to help Featherstone achieve promotion to Super League.
On Saturday, the 26-year-old centre played his first rugby league game since April 2018 as he returned from a drugs ban to help Featherstone beat Batley 36-16 in a pre-season friendly.
In his time away from the game, Minns has used his personal experiences of suffering with depression and anxiety to become a motivational speaker and help others following his mother’s passing in 2017.
Minns admitted he was nervous the night before his return – but is absolutely delighted to have made a comeback to the game he loves after making positive changes in his life.
He said: “Leading up to it I was pretty nervous the night before. I couldn’t believe it that I was doing it and so it was unbelievable to then face the music. It was absolutely awesome.
“One thing I’ve found is that when you quit, that’s it and you never know where you could have gone. If I had quit when I broke my foot the second time, there were times I was writing applications to join the fire service and looking back now, I’m so glad I didn’t quit because I proved a lot of people wrong by playing on Saturday.
“I’ve been smashing my diet and all the stuff I do with the MinnsMind theme helps me. I have a certain schedule I follow every single day and I’m in the best shape of my life.
“A lot has changed since I last played. It felt weird with no scrums but it was good to get out there.”
Haven't being counting but it's being 1065 days without a game. Felt so good today being back out there with the boys 💙👊. To anyone out there who's thinking of quitting never give up! You got this 👊👊 https://t.co/tU9DDDwAv5
— MinnsMind – Thomas Minns (@Minnsie1) March 13, 2021
Featherstone coach James Webster has assembled a strong squad for their quest to achieve promotion to Super League, having recruited the likes of Nu Brown, Connor Jones, Craig Kopczak and Kris Welham ahead of this season.
Minns acknowledges the tough task ahead, but believes reaching Super League with Rovers would be the cherry on the cake for himself personally.
He continued: “How good would that be? I was speaking to Connor Jones yesterday about that. He didn’t realise how long I’d been out and we were having a general chat at training and he mentioned about how good it would be for me if we got promoted.
“The feeling and vibe among the lads we’ve got reminds me of the year we got promoted with Hull KR with how everyone is buying into everything, everyone is putting 100% in and we are all doing extras.
“The club has been very supportive throughout and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Everyone is willing to work hard for each other even if they aren’t in the team so I’m getting that feeling from when I got promoted with Hull KR. Obviously promotion is what this year is about for us, that’s the goal.”