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4 days ago
With the June 30 anti-tampering deadline fast approaching, Ryan O'Hara will be on the top of a number of NRL club's shopping lists this year - and with good reason.
Not only is O'Hara one of the games premier prop forwards on the field, but he is one of the most down to earth, comical characters off it.
O'Hara can always been seen sharing a joke with a team mate, friend or even the coach.
Fellow Raiders prop forward Troy Thompson, one of O'Hara's best friends, says O'Hara is great to have around the club.
"He's one of the funniest guys I've ever met," Thompson says. "If the coach is going mad he always brings a light-hearted comment just to lighten it up a bit, which is good."
Thompson says there has been many a funny moment with the man they call 'Rhino'.
"One funny moment that sticks out in my mind is when we were on our 'Mad Monday' in 2002. Everyone was doing the joke when you put a coaster on your nose and say, "Who threw the coaster?" And the next thing you know Rhino has come out in his undies and he had this tomato sauce all over him - everything was covered in tomato sauce, and he said, "Who threw the tomato sauce?" It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen! About a half hour later he was in the toilets and I swear he was crying, it was Tabasco, and it had go into all his pores and it stung him. It was minus ten degrees and the bar man had him out the back spraying him with the fire hose because he was that hot!"
O'Hara adds, "I couldn't see for an hour. but we kept on drinking!"
Although he seemed destined to be a footballer from a young age, if he did not make it to the top O'Hara claims he would be a 'bum'.
"Seriously, I'd be a bum! A deadest bum!" he laughs. "I'd be trying to scrape enough money to go out on Saturday nights! No, if I wasn't a footballer I'd probably be involved in it in some way. Whether it be coaching or helping out in someway."
However, there is a serious side to the 24-year-old Canberra Raider. He has played 95 first grade games, has tasted State of Origin and has never let his team mates or coach down on the football field.
This, coupled with his love of life, will surely make the off-contract O'Hara's signature a high priority for opposition coaches.
O'Hara's career has seen him at a number of clubs, however he has only played first grade for the Raiders.
The 188cm, 102kg giant played his junior football with The Entrance Tigers. He played play lower grades with the now-defunct Hunter Mariners as well as The Bulldogs. The Raiders then signed him and he made his first grade debut against the Sharks in 2001.
He has been in the nations capital ever since, and although he would like to continue playing and living in Canberra, interest from other clubs would not go unnoticed.
"I'd like to stay here and I'm talking with the club at the moment. But if nothing is worked out I would not have a problem leaving."
Following the end of his football career, O'Hara is undecided about what he will do.
"With the little bit of money I save I'll probably blow it travelling around the world for a few months and then comeback and try and start a life. I have no idea really," he laughs.
Luckily for O'Hara he still has a few years to think about it.
Steven Fattore is a Sports Media student at University of Canberra