AN eight-hour round trip to play rugby - it is a massive commitment and one of the many reasons why Lamarn Ma'a is such a valued members of CSU's New Holland Cup squad this year.
As a former Australian Schoolboy, CSU knew that they had a big asset when the talented prop agreed to join their ranks this season.
But what Ma'a has brought to the club has been even better than what they had anticipated.
"He's been an absolute revelation for us this year," coach Dave Conyers said.
"We've missed him a few times with injury and the times we did miss him - our scrum is so much better when he is there. Just his on field presence and maturity and the way he helps the young guys is just invaluable.
"He's also a great character off the field too, he's right into the social side of it, he helps the girls out when he can, he's always at the social functions, he's just one of those guys that has the rugby spirit."
Ma'a's form for CSU earned him a spot in the Central West squad which won the Caldwell Cup and while he has since relocated to Nowra due to work, he has continued to commute and play for the students.
It's the sort of commitment which CSU president and fellow prop Marcus Burrell certainly appreciates. It acts as an inspiration for his team-mates.
"We're taking it one week at a time with him and every week we have him on the field is awesome," he said.
"He's heavily committed, at the start of the season when he signed up he said he wanted to win a premiership, that's what his heart has been set on.
"We've all bought into that culture and it's a culture that Conz [Conyers] has helped instil as well. Having won back in 2019 with Conz, he's really well driven and an amazing coach.
"So to have people like Conz and Lamarn, yeah it's a massive help for the club."
On a personal level, Burrell said Ma'a has helped him improve his game. That says something given he first played for CSU in 2014.
"Lamarn is a mate of mine, I work with him, but in the scrums he has taught me just patience and just all the little technique things that he's picked up in all his years," he said.
"Playing at the high levels that he did, he's obviously going to deal with the highs and lows of the scrumming and line-outs, those little one percenters he's given us has really helped."
In the past fortnight as CSU has come from behind to beat the Dubbo Rhinos and the competition leading Parkes Boars, Ma'a has had a huge influence.
"The last couple of times he's got players' player, like he mightn't have got any points for being dynamic, but he's just got that much respect from the rest of boys for what he does on the field and how he acts as a mentor for them," Conyers said.
"It's really special to have him there.
"The poor guy has being playing busted a lot this year too, he really has. I watch him and see how much he expresses his influence ... he's one of those guys who just wants to be there."
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