Historic milestone for Broncos’ Mr Dependable
RUGBY LEAGUE: Brisbane captain Corey Parker hits a career milestone on Saturday that more than anything sums up his professionalism, dedication and determination not to let his teammates or coach down.
The father of four, who clicks the "ageometer" over to 34 next month, draws level with Parramatta favourite Nathan Hindmarsh for the most games played by a forward when he runs out for game 330 for the Broncos against Newcastle at Suncorp on Saturday night.
It's a tribute to Parker, a three-time Paul Morgan Medal winner as the club's best player, not just on the weight of games he has churned through since his debut in 2001, but for the amazingly high standard he produces every time he crosses the white line.
Like his former captains Darren Lockyer and more recently Justin Hodges, Parker is driven by a fear of letting down his mates and of failure.
"I hate letting people down," said Parker, who has been the backbone of Brisbane, Queensland and Australian sides in recent years.
Parker cares little of what the critics think of him or his football ability, even though the media acknowledge the high standard he sets.
He is concerned only with what those in the game think.
"It does matter what your peers think," he said.
"I don't give two hoots what the critics or media think. If the people you work with day in and day out respect and give you accolades, that's all that matters to me.
"They're the guys you go out with, have blood, sweat and tears with, and there's certainly been a few of them over the years."
Parker said his attitude changed when he had the first of four children and he realised he was playing to support his family and to build a future for them.
"You start off playing the game for records but the older you get the more you appreciate the significance of where you are in the game," he said.
"At the start, you just play because it's what you do and what you enjoy.
"When we had our first child I realised it wasn't just me and that there was some responsibility and accountability needed.
"I'm now a father of four and you don't want to let your children or your family down.
"To still be playing this game is very special and I guess when the dust settles and the curtain comes down I look back at it as something to be very proud of."
The Broncos play the Newcastle Knights at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.