SOUTH Sydney star Dylan Farrell says he leaves South Sydney convinced the club saved him from falling victim to drugs and alcohol.
NSW south coast product Farrell heads closer to home when he joins St George Illawarra on a three-year contract next season but he says joining Souths in 2008 probably saved his career.
“I was training with the Steelers when I signed with Souths,” Farrell explained. “I’ve had heaps of family members who’ve sort of been in the same position as me – they lived at home while travelling to games.
“It just didn’t do anything for them. They got into drugs, alcohol, that sort of stuff so my dad wanted to get me out of the area and – I suppose – let me grow up quicker.”
Farrell says he is a distant relative of dual international Andrew Walker, who was suspended for two years for cocaine use in 2004.
“Myy cousin Ben Wellington, he played at the Roosters in ’03 and ’04, he actually did a knee injury.
“Andrew Walker’s a distant relative. My dad played lower grades at Parra – Darryll Farrell – but he got homesick when he was young and just took off home.
“He still regrets that to this day. I wouldn’t be here without them. They’ve (Darryl and mum Kim) really encouraged me and pushed me in the right direction.
“Looking back, I still would have been living with my parents, travelling up from Wollongong to play, even the travel gets you, I don’t know how I would have lasted. “
Farrell, who made a tryscoring return to first grade on Sunday, wanted to repay Souths by re-signing.
“I really wanted to stay here but I’ve got a three-year-old daughter and a son on the way and it was really just all about looking after them,” he said.
“It’s closer to home. My parents still live down there, all my family live there, it’s going to be easier. It’s easier to get baby sitters. It’ll be easier to live. I’m going to be able to afford to get a house there, I couldn’t do that here with kids. I’d only be able to buy a unit.
Farrell had back surgery in the off-season and started the season in first grade before being dropped. In his place another Dylan – Walker – has risen to prominence.
“He’s only a young kid but full of confidence,” said Farrell. “I just know him through the juniors.
“He came up and started training with us this year, had a really good pre-season, started killing it in the Under 20s and NSW Cup.
“If Souths are going good, I’m going good. They’re like my family. I want to finish out this year on a high note.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK