Olam wants second title success in a month

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Justin Olam has already felt the joy of one premiership win this year.

While most Melbourne Storm players were kicking back and preparing for a week off after their qualifying final victory, Olam was riding home the Lae Snax Tigers in Papua New Guinea's Digicel Cup.

"It's their fourth premiership in six years,' Olam said.

"They're a pretty good team. They've got a really good coach, and a good squad there.

"They are known for getting players out of nothing and making them into something."

Olam spent one year with Lae in 2015, reaching the preliminary final but missing out on a premiership before watching on from afar as they started their title run.

"When I got out of there they started winning," he quipped

But he still feels a special link to the club.

Without them, he knows he would be pursuing a career in electronics with an applied physics degree in Papua New Guinea.

Picked up as a talented 19-year-old at university who had barely played organised rugby league, he lasted one season in the Digicel Cup before being elevated to higher honours.

He was a star of the Queensland Cup with PNG's Hunters team in 2016, and earned a Storm contract the following year.

By 2018 he had made his NRL debut, and he has easily been one of the form centres of 2021.

And come Sunday week, he could well be in an elite group of players to have won back-to-back NRL titles.

Which is why when the Lae Snax Tigers knocked off rivals Whagi Tumbe 16-10 last week, Olam was straight on the phone to his old teammates and coach.

"Without them I wouldn't be here," Olam said.

"They gave me the opportunity. I was at uni at the time and they were very open with the (training) schedule.

"My coach used to tell me if you have to study or you can't make it to training just tell me and I'll be OK with it.

"If we played a Sunday game that was a bus trip away, they would give me a car so I could make it back early to make the Monday to go to school."

Olam hopes to return home this summer for the first time in two years, depending on if a vaccine eliminates at least part of what would be four weeks in quarantine at both ends.

A trip to his old rural village of Gon could also await, where he hasn't seen his friends for six years.

But first, his own title awaits. And potentially a Dally M centre of the year gong to go with his continual rise.

"That's the sacrifice I have to make to follow my dream," he said.

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