‘I was ready to hang up the boots’: Mitchel Curnow rediscovers love for the game with Rockingham

Rockingham’s Mitchel Curnow became enshrined in the Peel Football and Netball League honour boards when he took out the Ross Elliott Medal as the competition’s fairest and best player for 2018 on Monday night.

The gun midfielder’s stellar season was brought into the spotlight when he topped the vote count ahead of Centrals’ Lee Murray, as he became the second Ram in just three seasons to win the award following Rocky Collins’ victory in 2016.

But the 21-year-old’s journey to the league’s most treasured individual prize has been far from smooth sailing.

Curnow's season has been outstanding for Rockingham. Photo: Justin Rake.

Curnow's season has been outstanding for Rockingham. Photo: Justin Rake.

Less than two years ago Curnow battled a string of injuries in an up-and-down stint with Peel Thunder’s colts and reserves outfits.

They hindered his time on the field and ultimately led to the young star contemplating stepping away from the game all together.

“Things weren’t looking too good – I found myself just not enjoying footy and really I think I’d just lost my passion for the game,” he said.

“I was going to hang up the boots.”

But that all changed when he found himself back in a Rams jumper.

Curnow said the 2018 season has been his most enjoyable year of footy yet. Photo: Justin Rake.

Curnow said the 2018 season has been his most enjoyable year of footy yet. Photo: Justin Rake.

Returning to the club – where he had the chance to play with close mates once again – rekindled Curnow’s love for footy.

Spearheaded by coach Scott Franklin and captain Steve Kenny, the youthful Rams outfit looking to climb the ladder was the perfect fit for the newly-crowned Ross Elliott medalist.

“This team has been everything to me,” Curnow said.

“They’ve helped me find that passion again and that’s something I can’t thank them enough for.

“What Scott’s done with the group has been outstanding and everyone in the side is good mates – really I’m just proud to be a part of that movement and that success.”

Curnow and his Rams will be looking to add to their already stellar 2018 season when they take to the field against Pinjarra in the preliminary final on Saturday.

The game presents Rockingham with a chance to move on to the grand final, an outcome that would mean plenty to Curnow and his teammates.

“I love this group, and to play in a grand final with them, that would just be massive,” he said.

“Obviously Pinjarra have been the competition’s benchmark for some time so we know it won’t come easy, but we’re building something here and we’re playing some good footy.

“I’m confident we can get the job done against anyone.”

The preliminary final clash kicks off at Waroona’s Parnell Street Oval this Saturday, 3pm.