How a love for rugby league helped family cope with heartbreak

Unique bond: Josh Coric (left), Jesse Prinsse and Corey Prinsse. Picture: Georgia Matts.
Unique bond: Josh Coric (left), Jesse Prinsse and Corey Prinsse. Picture: Georgia Matts.

Over the past 16 years, Corey and Jesse Prinsse have formed an unbreakable bond. 

That bond has been forged with the assistance of rugby league, as Corey helped play a crucial role in the upbringing of his grandson. 

Jesse’s mother died in a car crash when he was just six months old and with his father Josh working a full-time job to support his son, Jesse’s family members stepped in to help raise him.

The arrangement saw Corey take Jesse to countless rugby league training sessions and matches for Albion Park Oak Flats, so much so that he became a near permanent fixture around the club.

“Rugby league has brought us closer,” Jesse said. “Pop always takes me to training and to games, he hasn’t missed many games, it’s always good when you hear him on the sideline.

“The things he does for me, it’s crazy. He’s only missed a game because he was having heart surgery, that was the only thing that would really keep him from coming.”

Corey recognises that there were countless tough times throughout Jesse’s childhood and acknowledges the power of sport to help Jesse, and others, grow and develop off the field into the young man he is today.

“It’s been hard but very, very rewarding,” Corey said. “Especially when other people comment on how well he’s turned out, we’re pretty proud of him.

“Rugby league has become part and parcel of practically every day. If he didn’t have footy, I don’t know what he’d be doing, he’s got so many friends from football. 

“The parents from football have been unbelievable, they almost treat him as one of their own, that’s the family spirit in the club.”

Jesse was recently named junior captain of Albion Park Oak Flats Rugby League Club, alongside his best mate Josh Coric. The pair have become inseparable in recent years.

“They call them the twins,” Corey said. “They’re coaching an under 11s side together now, sometimes I think it’s just so him and Josh can be together all the time.”

The boys have experienced their fair share of adversity on the field, with both Josh and Jesse suffering ACL injuries in quick succession last season. 

The way the boys bounced back from the injuries impressed not just Corey, but those at the club. The duo were extremely committed to their rehab, while still remaining a fixture in and around the club, helping out wherever possible. 

“Jesse’s had his ups and downs with footy, he broke his collarbone in 2016, then last year he did his ACL and Josh did his at almost the same time.

“Jesse is somebody who puts in, takes advice about how to recuperate and instead of 12 months, he was ready to go in eight months. The two of them were very dogmatic in getting back as quickly as possible.”

Corey sees that same determination every day from Jesse, a young man driven to do his best in any challenge he takes on while also finding the time to help others.

“There have been tough times, but he’s learned that sometimes you have to do without to get somewhere.

“He’s a well liked kid, football’s played a hell of a big part in that. He always shares what he learns, whether it be from family, from me, his dad, his Nan or from the footy family. It’s helped him a long way and made him into the boy he is.” 

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