Proud Kahu has overcome it all to scale the mountain
IT HAS been a long and rocky road for Cowboys recruit Jordan Kahu.
The former Brisbane Broncos backline star is arguably the unluckiest man in rugby league.
His first two opportunities to begin a career in the NRL were dashed before they were realised by season-ending knee injuries in 2011 and 2012.
He broke his thumb twice in his debut season for the Broncos in 2013, and then suffered another debilitating ACL injury on the eve of the 2014 season.
But through it all Kahu has shown a steely resolve, and a desire to keep moving forward.
It is the reason the Cowboys centre is filled with pride on the eve of his milestone 100th game against Melbourne Storm on Friday.
"For me, to reach this 100th game after all I have been through is incredible and I am super proud of myself to be honest," he said.
"I am just so lucky I have had good people around me since the start of my career and I was brought up in a good environment at home where I knew tough work got me where I needed to be."
It is a milestone that the 28-year-old was unsure was ever going to come.
When he was forced to go under the surgeon's knife for his knee in 2014, Kahu woke up thinking that would be the death knell on his career.
"After I did my knee in a trial against the Cowboys. That was the year after I debuted, and I was looking for a big year that season.
"I had a starting spot in the Broncos team at the time, I went down in the first trial and I had scans of my knee which showed that I had some ACL damage and to be honest I thought my career was going to be over.
"Since then I guess I have put injuries behind me a bit easier just knowing that all the serious ones have all been put aside. A torn muscle or a broken bone is not as bad as what an ACL injury is."
And Kahu has faced plenty of those "minor" injuries with two pectoral tears in the one season in 2016, consistent groin problems hampering most of the 2017 season before a broken jaw ruled him off the field for 10 weeks last season.
His career injury resume reads like a check in sheet at a hospital emergency ward.
But no matter his physical or mental demons, Kahu has shown a fighting spirit to persevere through it all. It is why he took a leap of faith this season when it appeared he was on the outer at Red Hill.
Kahu was brought to Townsville as a replacement measure at the back for the Cowboys, but has since been moved to the centres under coach Paul Green.
While he still has desires to move back to the custodial role, Kahu said it would not stop him from giving his all as the Cowboys attempt to bounce back after a string of tough losses.
"I was pretty comfortable with the switch, I played a lot of centres last season with the Broncos, but I am still keen on fullback," he said.
"I am just trying to get better each week in the centres while I am there, and if the opportunity comes again to play fullback and I will take it with both hands.
"I guess (the switch to centres) is just more of a team change, obviously something (Green) thought would help the group out and I was happy to do right by the team."
Cowboys' middle man Josh McGuire, who played alongside Kahu at Brisbane for all of his career, said he was proud to see his good mate achieve a great personal milestone.
"Jordy is a good mate of mine, he has been through a lot of adversity over his career and it just shows the character of the bloke to always come back and play at the highest level," he said.
"To play 100 games in the NRL is no mean feat for anyone, and he deserves this. He has really stuck it out over his career."