THIS time next month, Jaiman Lowe will be hard at work in his new career - in the mines of central Queensland - and he is guaranteed to have a few tales to share at smoko. The grand final was the last game in the career of the 29-year-old Melbourne forward, who thought his time in the NRL was over until a call from Craig Bellamy less than two years ago.
''This sort of stuff doesn't happen to me but I'm glad it did in my last game. It was now or never really,'' Lowe said. ''I'll never forget it. I was sitting in a car park in Sydney, and I was about to wind up my NRL career with Souths and thought that was the end of my NRL career. I knew that if I wasn't going to play good footy under [Bellamy], I never was.''
Lowe is just the kind of workmanlike forward the Storm coach has made a career out of turning from rock to diamond. Remarkably, he initially knocked Bellamy's offer on the head. Last night he was very thankful he changed his mind.
''I'd say no at one stage and he rang up and asked why,'' Lowe said. ''I said I've got two kids and a wife and the business side of it just wasn't good enough at the time. He said he wanted me at the club and, as soon as he said that, I was willing to come - but they made a bit of a better offer for my family to live on which I was very appreciative of.''
He is one of four players in the premiership-winning team departing the club. Todd Lowrie and Dane Nielsen will join the New Zealand Warriors and Sika Manu is headed for Penrith next season.
After 142 first-grade games, Lowe is en route to Queensland with wife, Letitia, and daughters, Jordan, 7, and Dakota, 4. ''I'm heading up to Moranbah to work in the mines,'' he said. ''I'll start that at the end of the month.''