Keary: Why a Roosters title means more than 2014
LUKE Keary helped end South Sydney's 43-year premiership drought.
Problem was, he took it for granted. He thought the good times would roll on forever. They haven't.
Keary was just 22 games into his NRL career when South Sydney famously won the 2014 grand final.
Since that historic day, Keary had a fallout with Souths co-owner Russell Crowe, left the Rabbitohs, sustained some serious injuries and hasn't won a title since.
He is now older and wiser and appreciates how special a premiership is.
It's why the Roosters five-eighth said yesterday a title this year would probably mean more to him than the Rabbitohs victory.
"I think you do take it for granted a little bit at that age. You don't appreciate it, you just think it will be put in your hand every year," Keary told The Daily Telegraph.
"I hadn't gone through any adversity or tough times.
"You just don't appreciate it as much than if you had gone through a couple of tough years, the highs and lows.
"If you do get to another one or achieve something in the game, you would appreciate it more, the older you get. The longer you have been there, the more you appreciate those type of things.
"It was a weird one because I'd maybe only played 15, 17, 18 games at the time. I was 21.
"I don't look back on it too much, maybe when I have finished. Hopefully then I can look back on a couple of them. We had a decent team that year and created some good memories.
"I am still mates with a lot of the blokes I played the grand final with but we don't obviously talk too much but we stay in contact every now and then."
Keary left Souths after 2015. In fact Keary said he doesn't even really feel like Souths is his former club - rather just another club.
"It's been a few years now," Keary said. "This kind of feels like home now.
"Last year I felt like Souths was my old team and you had to 'give it to them' and you get more nervous. I have been away for a while now so it doesn't feel like my old team anyway.
"It's just another team."
The Keary factor adds just another dimension to what should prove an incredible night in the final rugby league match to be played at Allianz Stadium before it is rebuilt. A crowd of around 42,000 is expected to attend the preliminary final between Souths and the Roosters.
"It's awesome for the game to build rivalries like this," Keary said. "This will be special, the theatre of it all through the whole week.
"Both sets of fans are really passionate about their club and not liking the other club. That all trickles down.
"I have been on both sides so I know the, not so much the hatred, but the dislike they have for each other."