Faces of Tamworth: Rugby journeyman Mick Snowden

Mick Snowden gives a Rebels opponent the palm off.
Mick Snowden gives a Rebels opponent the palm off.

Mick Snowden’s journey from Pirates to Super Rugby is testament to the value of perseverance but has been one of surprises. The invitation, late in 2012, to train with the Western Force’s Extended Playing Squad came by his own admission “out of the blue.” Earlier this year the former Farrer student realised another dream when he made a “surprise” debut for the NSW Waratahs.

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.

Blooming: Former Pirates team-mates Paddy Ryan and Mick Snowden celebrate Snowden's Waratahs debut and a bonus point win over the Melbourne Rebels on Sunday.

Blooming: Former Pirates team-mates Paddy Ryan and Mick Snowden celebrate Snowden's Waratahs debut and a bonus point win over the Melbourne Rebels on Sunday.

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 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.

Force gives former Pirate a chance to realise Super Rugby ambition

Mick Snowden’s pursuit of his rugby dream has taken him from Tamworth to Sydney and now all the way to Perth.

The former Pirate has been signed by the Western Force. He’s contracted as part of the Force’s Extended Playing Squad (EPS) and will head over in October to begin the next and most exciting chapter of his rugby career.

“It’s fantastic and really came out of the blue,” Snowden said.

It is the realisation of a long held ambition for the halfback.

“It’s the whole reason I left home,” Snowden said.

That was back in 2007.

“It’s taken six years to come through,” he said.

He conceded he thought it wouldn’t.

“I was well and truly resigned to the fact nothing was going to happen,” he said.

But a chance meeting now has him preparing for a shot at Super Rugby.

The ball started rolling when his Eastwood side played Southern Districts.

“It was the week before Grayson Hart played for the Waratahs,” Snowden said.

Then-Waratahs coach Michael Foley was at the game watching.

“I had a pretty decent game,” Snowden said.

“When he headed across to the Western Force, he asked if I wanted to come and have a meeting with him.”

That meeting turned into an offer to join the franchise.

Needless to say, Snowden had no hesitation in accepting.

The EPS was introduced this year after the ARU capped the franchises at a core squad of 30 players. Each is allowed an additional five players who train with the main squad and can be called-up into the matchday 22 if the need arises through injury, which in a 20- round season is inevitable.

Snowden will be the backup to Brett Sheahan and Albie Mathewson.

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