Patrick Herbert isn't short of motivation.
After an impressive under-20s career with the St George Illawarra Dragons, the 22-year-old has enjoyed a breakout month on the Warriors' right edge.
During his time with the Sydney club, the Whakatane-born centre got some tragic news that has fuelled his fire ever since – his sister, Teresa Mae, had taken her own life.
Speaking to Stuff, Herbert said the memory of his sister gave him his "own personal drive."
"My sister passing away was obviously very tough," he said. "She is my motivation, she always believed in me."
After signing a trial and train deal with the Warriors last November, Herbert quickly impressed and made his NRL debut in the Warriors' agonising loss to the Melbourne Storm on Anzac Day. Since then, he has locked down his place in the starting squad, scoring two tries and kicking goals at a high rate.
Like many NRL players, Herbert casts his eyes to the sky when he runs out onto the turf before a game. They all have their reasons for it, and Herbert's is Teresa Mae.
Herbert has strengthened the right edge immeasurably, and after just four games, has locked up one centre spot for the foreseeable future.
After an impressive debut against the Storm, Herbert has delivered time and again; running with purpose, defending strongly and handling the goal kicking responsibilities well. His pass to send David Fusitu'a across for the Warriors' third try in their win over the Dragons a fortnight ago was a thing of beauty – timed to perfection as the Dragons line rushed up.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has praised Herbert's play. Speaking to media after his debut, Kearney said Herbert was rewarded for hard work in the lower grades and took his opportunity.
"I'm pleased for him," Kearney said after the loss to the Storm. "He's a really good story. He worked hard for us over the pre-season and came on a train-and-trial basis. (He) got the opportunity, and made a good fist of (it)."
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