Weeks don’t get much better than this – returning to first grade following a serious shoulder injury, beating the 2011 premiers and adding a new member to the family – that all happened within a few days of each other for Penrith Panthers hardman Nigel Plum.
“It was an awesome week, a great feeling,” Plum said.
“First it was great to get back on the field, then it was good to get the win over Manly and to top it off my wife had a little boy, who we called Levi.”
Plum, who had been sidelined since the pre-season with a shoulder injury, first heard of his inclusion in the Panthers side on Monday, before his little bundle of joy was born Tuesday morning.
Plum said it was great having his first daughter Miller and his new son Levi at the game last Sunday afternoon.
“Miller loved getting out to the game on Sunday but I think she was more interested in watching the Panthers mascot than me running around,” Plum joked.
“It was good to have Levi there too, he may be a lucky charm, and my wife was pretty happy as well to be able to take the kids out and watch the game.”
Plum, who returned to the side after four months off, was initially meant to be unavailable for the entire season but clever work by surgeons ensured he returned to the Panthers a lot earlier than expected.
“With the type of surgery I had I was originally meant to be out for the season,” Plum said.
“But when I spoke to the surgeon after the operation he said that he done things a little bit differently and moved the bicep tendon from the shoulder onto the actual arm, so it’s out of the rotation and movement of the shoulder which makes for a quicker recovery.”
Last Sunday’s 22-4 win over the Manly Sea Eagles saw Plum put in a solid effort coming off the bench, playing 31 minutes for 23 tackles, 69 metres and 11 hit-ups.
Plum said he pulled up a little sore after such a physical first game effort.