Mick Snowden wrote another chapter in a rugby journey that has taken him from Tamworth, to Sydney, to Perth, Melbourne and now back to Sydney when he made what he described as “a return to super rugby out of nowhere” on Sunday.
In what was a ‘bolt from the blue’ – as much to him as anyone - Snowden made his debut for the Waratahs.
The Pirates product was called into the squad after half-back Jake Gordon was ruled out with concussion, and played the last 20 minutes of the 51-27 win over the Melbourne Rebels.
The irony wasn’t lost on Snowden, with the 30-year-old spending the last two years in Melbourne.
His introduction to the game ironically came at the same time as fellow former Pirate Paddy Ryan.
“It was quite a bizarre thing. I looked across and he and I ran on together,” Snowden said.
The pair played a lot of their junior footy together, firstly with Peel Valley and then in their later years Pirates, but hadn’t played together for around 15 years.
To do it wearing the blue of NSW made it all the more memorable, especially for Snowden.
“I was very happy to play super rugby but to play for your state is pretty special,” he said.
It was something he thought he wouldn’t get the opportunity to do.
After stints with the Western Force and Rebels, Snowden thought his super rugby days were probably behind him.
At one stage he wasn’t even going to play rugby this season.
Feeling a bit disillusioned after missing the majority of last season with a foot injury and learning that the Rebels weren’t going to be resigning him, Snowden said he “retired for about six weeks”.
“I got really antsy at home. I was literally annoying my wife too much,” he said.
So he headed down to Eastwood training, initially intending to play more socially. But that didn’t last long.
“I did three sessions and my competitive side kicked in,” he said.
He was actually meant to be playing for Eastwood in a trial game on Saturday.
It would have been the first footy he’d played for about 10 months, but a phone call on Wednesday asking if he could come in and train with the Waratahs changed those plans.
He still wasn’t a certainty until Friday afternoon, but fortunately his family was able to get down there, Snowden posting a photo of himself and his dad Adrian after the game on Instagram with the caption “Five years since I debuted and dad finally got to see me play super rugby. Made a great day even better.”
“The whole family came down for my debut in Melbourne but I didn’t get a game,” he said.
There were a few Pirates in the crowd too on Sunday with the Central North premiers down in Sydney for a trial with Beecroft and Balmain on Saturday.
Snowden got out to see them play after watching the Woodies against Norths.
“It was a wonderful weekend of coincidences,” he said.
Pirates president Stuart Prowse said it was greet to see two of the club’s former players running around for the Waratahs.
“It was a particularly good moment to see them run on together in the second half,” he said.
“I was sitting there watching it at home and it was great to see.”
He said it shows the strength of what some of the juniors can do, and is a lesson to what can be achieved with a bit of perseverance.
Snowden doesn’t know whether that will be it for his time with the Waratahs.
But whatever happens it will be something he will always savour and treasure.