I have always been a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.

Whether it is in footy, business or life in general, there will always be factors that fall outside of your control.

What I have always looked at doing, is controlling the “controllables”.

We’ve all heard the cliche a thousand times before, but there is no truer phase to live your life by.

For me, I’ve always aimed to control what I have the ability to influence, and to not sweat the small stuff.

Where possible, I’ve taken constant control of writing my own script.

When those around me ask how I assess my footy is currently at, I’m as honest as I possible can be. You only hold yourself back if you can’t self-assess your own performances.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 02: Billy Meakes of the Rebels runs away to score a try during the round 16 Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Rebels at Eden Park on June 2, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – JUNE 02: Billy Meakes of the Rebels runs away to score a try during the round 16 Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Rebels at Eden Park on June 2, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Last year was a strong year for me. In fact, this time last year and the six months proceeding, would definitely be the highest points of my career to date.

I had returned back to Australia after playing top division rugby in England for a number of years, and had forced my way into Wallabies contention.

Just like any other kid, growing up playing rugby in this country, becoming a Wallaby had always been a dream of mine, and for a period there I did not know if it was ever going to happen.

Again, I believe everything in life happens for a reason, and I simply had to convince myself that if I did the work, national opportunities would follow.

Once I finally got there, yes there was joy and celebration, but more than anything it was relief.

Relief for I had finally made it.

Billy Meakes

When I arrived in camp, it was hard to not step back and take it all in, due to the excitement.

There wasn’t even much time to stop, and reflect on what I had had to do just to get there, and what I needed to do to stay in the team.

Theres always real danger of complacency in our sport, and I think I kind of fell victim to that this year.

Maybe there was a part of me that thought, it will simply just happen for me again because of how I was able to breakthrough onto the Wallabies’ selection table.

In some small way, that thought process also tricked down into my club football performances.

So at the end of the 2017 Season, given the exit of the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition, I made the decision to continue my football with the Melbourne Rebels.

It has been one of the best moves I have made for my career. Coach David Wessels, and I have history from our days in Perth, so to have a familiar face around the club has been a massive boost for me.

But some six weeks ago, we had a really good conversation about where I was at with things. And that conversation has really been one of the highlights for me this year.

Billy Meakes exclusive insight rebels australia

It was a really honest discussion about what am I doing, what could I be doing, what more could I be doing, and what was I doing last year that I’m not doing this year.

We sort of came up with a few things to help me get back to where I know I am capable of.

This whole time I suppose I have been looking for this miracle answer, when what I have been needing to do is simply peel back everything and go back to what I know works best for me.

It was actually really refreshing moment because I changed a couple of little things and just sort of really focused on myself. In the last six weeks I have edged closer and closer to regaining my best form.

Watching Australia play Ireland in the recent international series gave me a real shot in the arm.

I didn’t really expect to make the team because I knew I probably didn’t deserve it, based on recent performances.

But to watch the series for the last few weeks, and then not be involved, was a bitter pill to swallow.

It has definitely made me hungrier and given me a target to strive towards in complement with my desire to improve and help the Rebels build a strong finals campaign.

One key lesson that I learnt over the last sort of six to eight weeks, is it is important to give each day a clear purpose.

And it might sound really simple, but it’s something that I focused on over the last two months and it just means that your consistency and you build up to a game and if you can get bang on every single week, then you get a consistent input then your output going to be the same every week and you hopefully perform each week.

I just feel like the start of the year, there were days when I was just going through the motions.

It’s pretty embarrassing to say only because I have got the best job in the world and so many people who would love to be here.

But reflecting on it, it sort of again makes you realise what you need to be doing.

Having a purpose every day is something I’ve been working on with the senior players here and with our coach as well and having clear goals throughout the week and ticking them off throughout the week has helped fine tune a lot for me.

Having a good balance just in life in general is so critical. Sometimes when things aren’t going great and you might not be playing well or training well and it might be freezing cold outside, and you don’t want to out there doing those training session.

I think just having a good balance between rugby stuff and then away from rugby has been really important to me.

Billy Meakes exclusive insight rugby rebels

And our coach always says or eventually says it before every game, “it doesn’t matter what happens; no one died; it’s just a game of rugby and we play for fun.”

That sort of whole mentality around work hard is so true, and equally that we all started playing because we enjoy the game and we love it.

It’s about training hard and when you get home sort of switching off and having a balance there.