Love of family driving Lloyd Perrett

When Lloyd Perrett talks of his love for his family, it comes with a sense of gratitude.

For Perrett – the father of a baby girl – appreciates things could have been far different after a testing 12 months on and off the field.

On day one of 2018 pre-season training last November, the Manly prop collapsed to the ground during the third and final 2km time trial run.

Following treatment by Manly medical staff, Perrett was rushed to Mona Vale Hospital and was diagnosed with heatstroke.

"When I woke up in hospital, I was told by doctors that I was lucky to be alive,'' Perrett recalled.

"I was seconds off death. I was in a coma for a day or so."

Engaged at the time, the encounter was a horrifying experience for his fiancée Shelly, her son Kymarni, and the Perrett family.

Under strict medical supervision, Perrett was ordered to rest for six weeks, resulting in him missing the first two months of pre-season training. His health recovered in time for the couple's wedding in late December.

On October 30 this year, the couple welcomed their daughter, Nora, into the world.

"The most amazing thing I felt as soon as the baby was born was instant love. Even though I only had her in my arms for a short time, I fell in love straight away,'' Perrett said.

"It is my first child and I am proud to call Shelly's son, my son. He calls me Dad. He is a proud big brother. It is an amazing feeling and we are very happy."

Perrett knows fatherhood brings responsibilities. And the 23-year-old has welcomed it with open arms.

"Everything I do with footy now is for my family. It is not about me anymore,'' Perrett said.

"Being a Dad, I need to look after my family financially. I have to be the breadwinner. I have to provide for my wife and our kids.

"I feel like I have changed massively as a person especially when I consider what happened this time last year with my body.

"It didn't register at the time it happened but when I did feel the effects of it, I realised that my body wasn't in good shape to play this year.

"I still had the love for the game and I tried my best for Manly, but it was just hard when you know your body is not physically there."

It is why Perrett is now giving his all at pre-season training in preparation for the 2019 season after just 13 games this year.

Off contract at the end of 2019, he knows his family is relying on him.

Perrett feels he still has plenty to offer with props known to mature late in rugby league. He has played 52 first grade games since making his NRL debut for Canterbury in 2014.

"When I realised how close I was to losing everything that I had and loved, it was very scary and it does drive you,'' Perrett said.

"There would have been no family, I wouldn't have got married, and I wouldn't have Nora and Kymarni.

"This is my sixth season in the NRL and people forget that I am only 23. They probably think I am 30-year-old bloke coming off the bench trying his best.

"I have to make the most of this second opportunity I've been given. I have to work hard, train hard, play hard, and then the rest will come. I know it will."