Tumour survivor Matt Eisenhuth puts aside firefighting dream to chase new Wests Tigers NRL deal

MATT Eisenhuth has beaten a tumour in his leg to make a triumphant rise to the NRL ranks, now he’ll put aside plans of becoming a firefighter to earn a new contract with the Wests Tigers.

Eisenhuth ended three years of uncertainty and frustration on Saturday night when he made his NRL debut with the Tigers.

The former Parramatta and Penrith lower-grader didn’t get a win in his maiden top-grade outing, but it mattered little in the end.

After overcoming two shoulder reconstructions and the discovery of a benign tumour in his leg, which came with doctor’s warnings he may never don the boots again, Eisenhuth was just grateful to be playing.

It’s why the 24-year-old will place his firefighter aspirations on hold to secure a new deal with the Tigers.

“I’ve always wanted to join the fire brigade — that would be the dream, but it’s awfully competitive and hard to get into,” Eisenhuth told The Daily Telegraph.

“I’m currently studying a part-time fire safety and building course at TAFE, but now I’m back playing footy that’s what I want to chase.

“I’ve got a contract for this year (with the Tigers), but I want to continue playing.

“There is plenty I can work on and that is what I’ll be doing to hopefully cement a spot.

“I guess if I play well, the rest will take care of itself.”

If his debut against the Sharks — and his cousin Paul Gallen — is any indication, he is every chance of inking a new deal.

The rangy replacement forward ran for 193 metres and made 22 tackles in a potent 52-minute stint.

Eisenhuth had feared his career was over but was extremely grateful for the devoted support from family and friends along the way.

“The result would have made it a lot better and sweeter, but that’s footy,” he said.

“I was still stocked to make my debut after so long and it will be something I’ll never forget.

“It hasn’t been easy with my injuries and all that, but I’m very blessed to have the people around me that I did — it got me through the tough times.

“The tumour in my leg was tough, just because it wasn’t footy related. That rocked me the hardest, but it was made easier to get through with the support crew that I had. I owe a lot them.”

Eisenhuth wants to use his personal triumph to inspire others who may be suffering from tumours or cancer-related illnesses.

“I’d love to get involved with some institutes and help spread the word wherever I can,” he said.

“It just makes you think about those sorts of people. I don’t really have it that tough. Fair enough, I’m going through a tough thing and I feel like my world is crashing around me not playing footy and that.

“But there are a lot of people in a lot worse off situations. So I’m pretty lucky really that I was feeling pain and was able to go and get it checked and find out what it was.

“It’s a tough one though, because people could go their whole lives without finding out that something was growing in their body.”