QUEANBEYAN Blues lock Mitch Day says his still aspires to take his game to the highest level despite finding himself unwanted by the Canberra Raiders at the end of last season.
Day spent two years in the Raiders Toyota Cup under-20s program in 2010 and 2011 but was not picked up to join the club’s senior squad after turning 20 last September.
A Queanbeyan Blues junior, Day suffered a disrupted season last year as he was shuffled between the Raiders and the Blues before ultimately being cut from Canberra’s roster.
Day said attempting to crack a spot in either the NSW or QLD Cup competitions next year was a definite possibility with the versatile forward keen to keep his NRL dream alive.
‘‘I’m definitely still looking at other avenues,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not even 21 yet so there are still opportunities there.
‘‘This year I’m just looking to get some consistent footy with Queanbeyan and then I’ll need to make some decisions at the end of the season.’’
Day’s chances of securing a spot in the Raiders top squad were hampered by a preseason ankle injury last year that saw him forced to sit out the first nine weeks of the Toyota Cup season.
A former Raiders under-16s and under-18s representative, Day suffered the injury just days out from round one. ‘‘It was actually during warm up at training the Thursday night before the start of the season,’’ Day recalls.
‘‘I snapped all the ligaments in my ankle and it was nine weeks before I could play again.
‘‘I was supposed to be playing Toyota Cup that weekend as well so to be told I wouldn’t be able to play certainly wasn’t the best feeling. After that I just struggled to get into form.’’
On his return to the field, Day was unable to recapture his best form and spent the rest of the season in and out of the Raiders line-up.
‘‘It was a bit hard to play myself into some consistency not knowing where I was going to be playing each week,’’ Day said. ‘‘I ended up not getting a lot of game time.
‘‘I wouldn’t say [the injury] ruined my chances, it maybe put a bit of a dint in them I suppose. I had all the chances in the world to play good footy at the end of the year and I just didn’t play well enough.’’
This season, Day has played every game for the Blues and has slotted back into his favoured role at the back of the scrum after spending last year in the front row.
Day is one component of a formidable Blues forward pack that also includes former Raiders graduates Mick Cullen and Jay Lasscock.
Blues coach Adam Doyle said Day would come into his own over the course of the season as the back rower returned to full fitness.
‘‘Last year he was getting 10 minutes here and there with the under-20s and he wasn’t able to play much for us either so he was never really fully fit,’’ he said.
‘‘Playing week in, week out this season he’s getting his fitness back but he just needs to get some good game time out there. That’s going to do him the world of good.’’