Ask Darcy Lussick about the last few years of his career and the former Manly Sea Eagles prop lets out a deep breath and lays it all on the table.
“It’s been an absolute rollercoaster,” says the 32-year-old, who announced on Monday that he will step into the ring to face Paul Gallen on December 22.
“The club I was playing for in England went bust and I had three and a half years left on my contract.
“I got stuck over there and it was impossible to get back, so it’s been really up and down.”
Lussick left Manly in 2018 and headed to the Toronto Wolfpack, an ambitious club funded by Australian mining magnate David Argyle who began life in the third tier of British rugby league.
Their end goal was the Super League, and they aggressively built a roster which included Lussick, Ricky Leutele and Sonny Bill Williams to get there.
But when they won promotion to the top flight after four years they lasted just six weeks.
COVID-19 sent the club into a spiral and Lussick was 16,000km from home with no pay and no clarity over his future.
“The comp shut down in March and when it started back up we had pulled out and they just told us there’s no club anymore,” he told AAP.
“There were like 40 of us in the club who stopped getting paid which isn’t ideal because we all have financial commitments.
“I was on a really good wicket there and I knew I’d never get that kind of deal again and then finding a club was hard because nobody was spending money.”
Lussick estimates that he’s lost close to a seven-figure sum after the Wolfpack’s implosion.
“The owner has been telling us we’ll get paid but that’s been going on for two years now,” he said.
“I’ve written it off in my mind and if it comes it comes.”
In the meantime, he’s been working on a building site to get by and got the call to fight Gallen when Josh Aloiai was forced to withdraw after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
“I told the guys I was working with I’d need a few weeks off ,” said Lussick, whose sole previous fight was a first round knockout victory against Justin Hodges.
“They just said go off and get it. I don’t expect there to be any beef between me or Gal.
“I think he’ll respect me for coming in at such short notice and it should be a good fight.”