'Not a victim': Olam hopes his Storm hardships inspire

Melbourne centre Justin Olam refuses to be a victim.

That's why he wants the way he handled being dropped to be an inspirational example for his many supporters back in Papua New Guinea, including his beloved mother Evelyn.

The 29-year-old PNG-born wrecking ball was sent back to Queensland Cup with Sunshine Coast Falcons for five weeks after the round 21 loss to Newcastle due to poor form.

But the 2020 premiership winner was back in the Storm side for the 32-22 win over Brisbane on Thursday night and aims to become a better player than ever before.

“That is the goal. My mentality was to see (being dropped) as a challenge and not be a victim,” Olam said.

“My focus has been to go back and play well in Q Cup. I think it is a good lesson. I have got a big fan base in PNG, especially young kids.

“Life is not going to be smooth every time. If they are watching ... there is going to be setbacks. It is how you react to it and pick yourself up.”

The PNG international was delighted to be back in the team, although the Storm were without 11 of their best players.

Craig Bellamy was asked whether Olam would be in the centres to play the Broncos in the first qualifying final on Friday night.

“We will see,” the coach said before pointing out that Young Tonumaipea, Marion Seve and Reimis Smith were also all in the frame.

Olam said being dropped “was tough”.

“On the flip side my performances had been questionable. Craig is the coach and knows what he is doing,” he said.

“He told me I needed to work on a few things. I said, ‘Thank you’. I have zero ego.

“I am happy some of the boys have got their opportunities and are playing well. That is what life is about.

“My focus has been to go back and work on what I can control, which is training hard and working on the things I can improve on. In saying that, I have got a few injuries this year which slowed me down a little bit.”

Olam is close to his PNG-based mother Evelyn who was worried about her son’s mental state when he was not playing NRL.

“I went back to see her last week,” Olam said.

“PNG mothers are different. They want to see if their kids are OK. I was OK, but she was upset. I had to go and see her.

“She was worried, not because I was dropped, but she wanted to check if I am doing OK mentally.

“She has the understanding that getting dropped is hard. It is just another challenge. 

"Coming from PNG it is never easy playing NRL, so I went back to reassure her that I have got myself together and am doing what I can to play first grade again.”

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