MARK Geyer has explained the outrageous three minutes that took him from a nobody to the cusp of the big time, recounting an embarrassing moment during a Jersey Flegg trial that made his mum cry and ended with two opponents stretchered from the field.
Geyer had just turned 17 and was next to no chance of forcing his way into Penrith’s Jersey Flegg side until the fiery beanpole saw a tear running down the cheek of his onlooking mother.
Picked in the No.17 jersey for the ‘Possibles’ to play against the ‘Probables’ to finish the trial, Geyer was enraged when the coach reading out the names completely mispronounced his.
The disrespect at that moment clearly still burns inside the popular 50-year-old Triple M radio personality, who relived it for Denan Kemp’s The Locker Room podcast.
“The coach said No.17 for the Possibles is Nick Gayer. I went ‘wow, that’s a pretty uncommon name’ and I looked around to see if there was another Geyer and he said, ‘No, you, the skinny kid with the tape around your ears’,” Geyer recalled.
“My mum was five metres away as all the parents were assembled. There was only like a mesh metal fence separating us.
“I went over to give her my shirt and put the jersey on and I saw a tear drop down her face past her sunglasses.
“And I said, ‘What’s up, Mum, why are you crying for?’ And she said, ‘They don’t even know your name. How are you going to make the team?”
It was a reaction that caused Geyer to vow that he would make the coach pay for his error.
Unluckily for his opponents in the ‘Probables’ side, that meant showing how ferocious he could be on the football field.
“So I said to the coach, ‘Who have I got to beat to make the Jersey Flegg side for this year?’,” Geyer said.
“He pointed to two blokes and they were the incumbents and they were very tough fellas.
I went on with about three minutes to go in the game and Neil (the coach) said ‘Nick, you’re on’, and I said, ‘It’s not f***ing Nick mate, it’s Mark’. He said, ‘Whatever’.
“I was 17 on the Possibles and we were getting beat 40-0. He said, ‘Just go on there and make up the numbers.”
Geyer explained that even though he would grow into a muscular first grade enforcer, at the time of this trial he was “6 foot 5” but just 80 kilos.
He was a beanpole who wouldn’t have looked much to the burly forwards he was opposing but that didn’t stop his aggressive mentality.
“I remember there was a break in play and one of the incumbent second rowers ran the ball at me, straight at me. I closed my eyes and with everything I had I shoulder charged him and knocked him out,” Geyer said.
“I’d just turned 17. And I thought, ‘Who the f***’s Nick now, hey?’ It was nothing to do with this poor bastard.
“So they carried him off and then the next second rower looked at me and said, ‘Hey Stick Man!’ I was 6 foot 5 and 80 kilos. I was like this microphone stand, with tape around my ears. He said, ‘I bet you can’t do that again’, and I said ‘I bet I can’t either’.
“It felt like he went back to the try line. And there was a break in play they carried the first guy off and I was at marker again and I ran out and he kind of ran straight in straight at me, and I’ve done it again.
“I’ve braced myself for a shoulder charge, closed my eyes and when I opened them everyone’s patting me on the back. And they’ve carried him off the field as well.”
Two tackles in three minutes of football was all it took for Geyer to go from fringe Flegg prospect to an inside track into Penrith’s first grade side, coached by Tim Sheens.
“Tim Sheens come over and he said, ‘What’s your name, mate?’ And I said, ‘It’s not f***ing Nick’,” Geyer said.
“I said, ‘Mate, it’s Mark Geyer, I’m from St Mary’s and I’m down here trialling for the Jersey Flegg and he said, ‘Nah, forget Jersey Flegg, you’re straight into under 23s this year.”