“You always hope in the back of your mind that it (NRL) might happen. I thought it was not realistic but now it has, I’m going to try and make it last as long as possible,’’ Cashmere said.
A heavy injury toll in the forwards followed by a release from Illawarra Cutters NSW Cup side led Cashmere back to Wests Tigers. Upon entering Concord Oval, he reacquainted himself with former team-mates in Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Liam Fulton and Head Coach Tim Sheens.
A one match stint for Balmain Ryde Eastwood led to Cashmere lining up for his NRL return against Penrith on Sunday. The 115 kilogram forward didn’t disappoint, making plenty of yards and even crossing for a try off Marshall.
Nicknamed ‘Razor’, Marshall knew Cashmere was ready to make an impact after he was ‘trying to hurt everybody at training’.
“Ray just carries the ball forward, no nonsense, nothing fancy. He just runs hard and tackles hard,'' Marshall said.
Farah said hurting team-mates at training was nothing new.
“That’s the way he prepares and that’s the way he plays. He might be 32 now but it was great having him back. He was like a little kid. He was very enthusiastic and it really showed.”
Cashmere made no apologies for his training methods.
“Throughout my career it has been a bit of a running joke, probably not for the players marking me, that I do sort of hurt players at training,’’ he said.
“I don’t do it intentionally. I’m just a big awkward bugger with big elbows and knees. I train like I play. I go 100 per cent at training and it shows in the way I play.
“I don’t mean to hurt any of my players but if my enthusiasm can rub off on the boys, then that’s all I can ask for.”
Judging by his quality return, Marshall and co had better get used to some more punishment. And so will the opposition.
16/04/2012 8:46:36 PM
Ray Cashmere made his first grade debut for the Western Suburbs Magpies v Bulldogs, Campbelltown Stadium, July 24, 1999
Ray Cashmere was 1063rd and last player to ever put on a Western Suburbs Magpies 1st grade jersey and is the Magpies last first grade player still playing in the NRL.