Wakefield Trinity Wildcats hooker Scott Moore can smile easily and shrug it all off now, safe in the knowledge he helped secure the club’s Super League future and truly earned a permanent deal with them.
However, his decision to defy medical advice and play just six weeks after major biceps surgery – the former England hooker was told he would be sidelined for three months – remains one of 2015’s great rugby league tales.
Moore had arrived on loan from Castleford Tigers in July until the end of the season but had played only two matches when he ruptured a bicep during a freak training ground accident.
It looked like his Trinity career was over before it had barely begun but then, remarkably, the 27-year-old made himself available in half that time for the club’s crucial Million Pound Game against Bradford Bulls.
And, having proved a real thorn in the Championship club’s side, the heroic former St Helens rake duly scored the decisive try that clinched Wakefield’s Super League place.
Trinity’s head coach Brian Smith last month rightly tied him down on a permanent deal with a two-year contract and the former North Queensland Cowboy is set to be an integral player.
Moore, who earned England recognition while on loan at Huddersfield Giants in 2009, is looking to show his undoubted ability more regularly in the season ahead having been told he was unwanted by Castleford.
“I came on loan to play and then two games in I was told I’d be out for 12 weeks, which was a bit of a nightmare,” he recalled.
“They did tell me I could probably play after 10 but I was a bit stupid and played after six.
“There was a bit of whether it (the bicep) would come off again and it was touch and go but you’re never going to know until you try.
“Fortunately I came through okay. The worse scenario would have been having to have another op’ and put it back on again so that’s not the end of the world. It wasn’t career-threatening. Just a pain. If that had happened it would have been similar again so I was probably looking at being out all my off-season again.
“But lucky enough it stayed on. It’s’ the kind of sport we’re in – you just have to shrug things off and get on with it.
“It turned out alright in the end but at the time it was a bit frustrating. We’re well into pre-season now and I’m looking forward to the new campaign. I just want to knuckle down, stay injury-free and once the games come around find a bit of form again really.”
Moore hopes Wakefield will not endure the misery of last season when they won just three of their 23 regular rounds before toiling through the Qualifiers.
“We’ve made some good signings, we just want to play some decent footy, end up middle table and avoid what we did last season,” he added, with erstwhile Castleford team-mate Liam Finn joining him at Trinity for 2016 along with the likes of former Leeds Rhinos full-back Ben Jones-Bishop and the Cronulla centre Anthony Tupou.
“Anything above that would be a bonus. Everyone can sit here and say they want to play in the Grand Final but going from bottom to top is not feasible I don’t think. We just want to play consistently and see where we end up and just enjoy playing again as I don’t think anyone enjoyed it last season towards the back end.
“It was super stressful and everyone was struggling a bit.”
The much-travelled Moore had joined Castleford 12 months ago after a campaign with London Broncos, but he made just 13 appearances, scoring a solitary try when the neighbours came up with the deal that saw fellow hooker Paul McShane move in the other direction from Trinity.
Moore is now at his seventh club in just five years but is desperate to rediscover his best form. He is likely to get his first run-out of pre-season in the Boxing Day friendly against treble-winning Leeds Rhinos.
“We’ve been having some long days but we’re getting there slowly,” added Moore.
“I thought pre-season would get easier after all these years but I’m living back in Lancashire now and getting up at 4.30 every day is a new one for me. It’s pretty tough but we’re going alright now.
“Headingley is probably one of the most iconic stadiums we have in our comp’ and it’s always a good place to play. I’m not sure what side they’ll put out but it’ll be good for us to get out there and get the ball in our hands really.”