THERE was a time earlier this year when it seemed Jamie Buhrer’s luck would never change.
Sea Eagles youngster Jamie Buhrer is now a regular in Manly's NRL squad
And in his NRL debut against the Eels earlier this year.
Sitting on the bench for successive NRL games without getting a single minute can test any footballer’s patience, but especially a 20-year-old desperate to impress.
Fitted with the gear he followed as a kid, Buhrer bided his time, sitting through games against the Storm (round six) and Titans (round seven) without getting a run.
The frustration continued for another 59 minutes at Brookvale Oval in Manly’s round 10 game with the Eels, ending an amazing 219-minute stint on the bench before making his NRL debut.
“By that stage, I didn’t have many nerves,” Buhrer said ahead of Sunday’s vital round 26 match with the Bulldogs at Brookvale Oval.
“I was still hopeful I would get on, but I wasn’t nervous, I was just happy to be a part of the 17. It was definitely exciting to get my named called out (against the Eels).”
Particularly after such an exhaustive wait which also saw his family and friends make the long journey to Melbourne to see him do nothing but sit on the bench. “My family went down, my girlfriend and a lot of my good mates ... they still had a good night out in Melbourne,” Buhrer said.
“It was a little bit disappointing to be so close to getting on to play my first game. It was something I always wanted to do and it was relatively disappointing.
“But I wasn’t really down in the dumps because I didn’t expect to be in the position I was.
“Obviously Tooves (Geoff Toovey) and Kelly Egan and even Des (head coach Des Hasler), they pulled me aside numerous times and said to keep your chin up.”
Buhrer, an avid Manly fan as a kid despite growing up in Sydney’s west, did just that, playing just 12 minutes against the Eels before clocking-up another seven minutes against the Titans (round 14).
But all those sporadic appearances seem to be on the outer, with Buhrer grabbing 27 minutes against the Roosters last Sunday.
With representative back-rower Glenn Stewart now gone for the next month, Buhrer knows he could suddenly be notching up a few more minutes.
“I found out in the last game I played that I was able to get my second wind,” he said of the Roosters’ outing.
“But, I didn’t expect to be playing NRL this year.”