I am doing what I love, so I am loving life right now.

And you would think that should be the case for every professional sportsperson. They are living their dream and so they should be very happy – on and off the field.

In my short time as a full-time rugby league player, I know that unfortunately that’s not the case.

Somehow the formula just isn’t that simple.

Now, I wake up each morning loving where I am and what I am doing. I can’t wait for the day to start. And because of that I am better at my job – playing footy.

Last year that wasn’t the case. Off-field issues were impacting how I was performing on the field.

There was a thumb injury, which sidelined me for about six weeks.

Now, an injured thumb is nowhere near as bad as a shoulder or a knee, but this was my first time having surgery for an injury and I felt really helpless.

Then my partner at the time and I went through a break-up, which again affected what I was doing on-field.

These weren’t things that I planned … it was just life.

But there is no doubt that you are better at your job – whatever that is – if you are happy. So, I just had to worry about me, do things off-field that made me happy.

GLADSTONE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Jai Arrow of the Titans celebrates his winning try during the round five NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Manly Sea Eagles at Marley Brown Oval on April 8, 2018 in Gladstone, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)
GLADSTONE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 08: Jai Arrow of the Titans celebrates his winning try during the round five NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Manly Sea Eagles at Marley Brown Oval on April 8, 2018 in Gladstone, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

One of those ‘things’ was my decision to return home to the Gold Coast from Brisbane.

As soon as I got here I knew it was not only a good change, but the change that I needed. I am home and I feel at home.

Brisbane and the Broncos was a great experience and was my introduction to the NRL, but I felt like I was in a comfort zone and I needed to be challenged more.

I needed to prove to myself – and nobody else – that I could play regularly at an NRL level, week-in, week-out.

My family is on the Gold Coast and I have good mates here. Jarrod Wallace is a good mate. We knew each other from the Brisbane days and he was pivotal in me coming to the Titans on a three-year deal.

That wasn’t an easy call. I had a good look at the playing roster and spoke to Jarrod about the coaching staff. He assured me that I would love it at the Titans, that I would be coming home and that would play a big part in me playing good footy.

Jai Arrow exclusive insight jarrod wallace

He was right and he is someone now who I spend a fair bit of my time with. I helped him move into his new home recently and often drop over for dinner.

And overall I have found the entire club very welcoming. It has been easy to fit in and the playing group is tight. We often do things together away from footy.

One of the key aspects within a playing group is trust. The deeper that trust becomes the better you play as a group.

I can feel the trust here growing. There is a real mateship about this club.

We all get along well. There are no outsiders. That camaraderie is having an effect on how we play.

Yes, we have been patchy, but we have also put together performances that have shut up the doubters. I know the consistency will improve.

I am also enjoying my role within the squad. This year has been a big one so far for me.

Jai Arrow exclusive insight titans nrl

I have been given a lot more responsibility in games and at training. This is a pretty young squad and I consider myself one of the leaders – at least I am trying to be.

That is a huge step and just occasionally I have to pinch myself just so I really do understand and appreciate where I am.

Another major career milestone for me was being invited into the Queensland Emerging Origin Squad and being a part of their camp on the Gold Coast in January.

I was shocked when I got the call. Considering the history and prestige associated with State of Origin, I am honoured to be considered for the Emerging Squad.

However I take nothing for granted and I always try not to get ahead of myself.

I remain focused on what is right in front of me.

Jai Arrow exclusive insight titans nrl gold coast

If a State of Origin call-up comes in the future, of course that would be unbelievable, but right now I will do everything in my power to do what I do to the best of my ability.

Coming home has reminded me of who I am and where I come from. Just down the road is the Burleigh Bears club and Keebra Park High – two places that were instrumental in my early rugby league career.

That’s where I first dared to dream of playing NRL and Origin. It has also reminded me that I am at my best when I am relaxed.

That’s just me. Leading up to a game I try not to worry about too much.

Just enjoy the company of family, my teammates and my dogs – cooking and cleaning around my place – just staying relaxed.

When I do that I love ‘my job’, playing the game I love and I wouldn’t want it any other way.