Footy can be a tough sport.

But it’s tougher when you’re plying away in the second-tier leagues, doing everything possible to earn an NRL contract.

There are some days you come home after a game, or following a mid-week training session, not knowing whether a future awaits you at top grade.

While all my mates from high school were getting jobs, and/or starting apprenticeships and university degrees, I was playing footy.

And there was no guilt having that be my focus because of the ultimate support I received from my parents.

If I were to be honest, I have my Mum and Dad to thank for my recent NRL debut.

Wayde Egan exclusive insight nrl penrith

They said to me following my high school graduation, that they would fully support my dream of playing in the NRL should I want to give footy a crack.

I’m sure they probably had their own reservations; it was only in my senior year of high school did footy really start to turn for me.

The fact is, I was never the best player on my team as a junior.

Geez, I wasn’t even picked in the Group 10 representative side, where the best kids in the area are selected for a state carnival.

I remember thinking at the time that football might not be for me.

So for my parents to show so much faith in me is something I will carry with me for a long time.

Now that I am here at Penrith, I don’t plan on leaving anything to chance.

I had a chance to sign on for two years in August, putting pen to paper on a new deal that will keep me in the western suburbs until at least the end of 2019.

There are so many great players around the club, that make coming into “work” all the more exciting.

Wayde Egan exclusive insight nrl

I still pinch myself to know that I’m the position that I am, and that through consistent performances through NSW Cup I can push for selection as the premiership season wears on.

Of course, as many of you would know, a certain player at Penrith played a key role in helping me become a Panther.

I was just wrapping up my junior season with Lithgow, and was at a crossroads as to what would be my next move towards edging a trial with an NRL club.

Nathan Cleary and I happened to be friends on Facebook thanks to some mutual connections.

One afternoon, I decided I would message him in hope, just to ask if there were many hookers going around at the club.

To my surprise, he actually messaged back not long after, letting me know that in his opinion the Panthers were actually short in the dummy-half department.

Wayde Egan exclusive insight nrl nsw

My junior club coach at Lithgow contacted Jimmy Jones, the national recruitment manager for the Panthers, and managed to arrange a try-out for him.

I was pretty rapt, and was still smiling when I arrived to Penrith Stadium, until I realised my name wasn’t on the trial sheet.

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t really know what to do.

Thankfully, they still allowed me to try-out, and I guess fortunately it worked out for everyone as only some weeks later I was officially a Panther.

So it’s funny how things have turned out, but as I mentioned, I know the hard work has only just begun.