Reality of leaving 'second family' in Melbourne dawning on emotional Addo-Carr
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Reality of leaving 'second family' in Melbourne dawning on emotional Addo-Carr

An emotional Josh Addo-Carr has spoken of the lure of returning to Sydney to be with his family next season and the anguish of leaving his adopted family, the Melbourne Storm.

The brilliant winger will suit up for Melbourne in another grand final next weekend after playing a leading role in their clinical 30-10 defeat of the Raiders in Brisbane on Friday night.

Addo-Carr has already confirmed that the grand final will be his final game for the Storm, who he joined in 2017 after making his first NRL appearances for Wests Tigers. He could return there next season, with South Sydney another potential home for 2021.

The 25-year-old fought back tears after the match on Friday as he came to grips with the fact he would have just one more appearance for the Storm, a club he credits with taking his game to the kind of level that has seen him become a regular for NSW and Australia.

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"Everyone knows what I want to do," he said. "I just want to enjoy every minute. I’m super proud to be a part of this club. My name is going to be on the wall with all of the greats. Nobody can take that away from me.

"It’s my second family. I suppose I don’t see it as a job. I love playing football and my teammates have turned me into the player I always dreamed of being."

Extended family is deeply important to Addo-Carr and being isolated in the Storm's Sunshine Coast bubble has been immensely challenging. It's given him time to reflect on what matters most in life and even with the emotional ties to the Storm, the prospect of being close to loved ones in Sydney is irresistible.

Josh Addo-Carr waves to the crowd after the Storm's preliminary final win over Canberra on Friday night.

Josh Addo-Carr waves to the crowd after the Storm's preliminary final win over Canberra on Friday night.Credit:Getty

He said he had lost a number of close family members, including his beloved grandfather and boxing champion Wally Carr, and that only solidified his decision.

"The whole reason why I moved down to the Storm was for my family and myself," he said. "It was a really tough decision, but I feel like I need to move back for my family. It was tough ... I lost five family members in the space of two months last year and I’ve lost two family members recently.

"Life is too short. I’ve got two kids now and I want my kids to grow up with their family and make good memories. My parents aren’t getting any younger. I wish the Melbourne Storm were in Sydney, but it’s just not the case. This club will always hold a very special place in my heart."

Addo-Carr was caught up in a COVID breach near the start of the season and made a vow to not only show his teammates that he was committed but could help them surge into their fourth grand final in five seasons.

Josh Addo-Carr with his late grandfather Wally Carr during the 2018 Origin series.

Josh Addo-Carr with his late grandfather Wally Carr during the 2018 Origin series.

"I had a rough start to the season," he said. "That put some fire in the belly, it made me hungrier. Everybody knows what happened at the start of the season and I wanted to come back and prove to my teammates that I wanted to go all the way.

"I just feel like I’ve grown as a player mentally – thinking under fatigue, trusting your teammates, understanding the game plan the coaches have set for you – I feel like I’ve really grown in those areas and know what I have to do for the team. I just have to try and bring energy to the team, not just through the games but during the week."

Melbourne fell at the preliminary stage last season, losing to the Roosters, but Addo-Carr feels Melbourne are a far more balanced outfit in 2020. Much of that has been down to the growth of halfback Jahrome Hughes, who had moved from fullback and was sensational in the early stages against the Raiders.

Hughes rebounded from a tough night against Parramatta in week one of the finals to set up a pair of tries in the opening 20 minutes as Melbourne ran right over the top of Canberra to set up a 24-0 lead after as many minutes.

"We’re just putting the effort in for each other," Addo-Carr said. "I feel like last year, we probably weren’t the complete team. Jahrome Hughes was playing fullback for most of the season and came to the halfback position. It’s important that you have a pre-season in your position to go far and I feel like we have the complete team this year.

"He had a great season and he’s really filling that position that Cooper Cronk left."

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