Injury-free and keen for Brisbane

I COULDN’T have thought of a better way to kick off my 2011 NRL campaign than against the Brisbane Broncos at Skilled Park tomorrow night.

Our derby rivals on our turf, with our fans chanting our name.

And I am all raring to go, super excited.

From a personal point of view it’s been a long off-season.

I had my wrist and shoulder done during the off-season, then when on my way back to full health strained my hamstring in Coffs Harbour during the week of the Souths trial.

It was frustrating and hard work at times because I had to have weeks off and I’d start getting back into the swing of things only to get struck down with something else.

I’ll tell you this much though, it makes you want to work harder when you’re able to train, and I’ve given it my all the last few weeks to really make sure I’m at my best when I run out.

In the end the hamstring put me back a couple weeks, but I see it as a blessing in disguise now because it gave my wrist and shoulder an extra couple weeks and I’m feeling as good as ever.

Hopefully I can help us get a result against Brisbane.

It’s an important game for us to win and get our season up and running.

We’ve faced arguably two of the top sides in the competition in the opening two rounds and both have a point to prove – St George to defend their crown and Melbourne that they are still competitive.

It’s been hard watching from the sidelines but it would have been just as hard for the players out there to be part of when they’re dishing up that kind of performance.

Mentally our individual preparation mustn’t have been fantastic because our team preparation was once again second to none.

But that won’t be the case this week – I can tell you everyone is extra focused.

It should be a crowd-pleaser too, with two young-gun back threes set to go head-to-head and the return of their big guns in Ben Hannant and Justin Hodges.

Unfortunately the rocket that is Kevin Gordon will be out for the rest of the season, but a guy I’ve got big wraps on steps into his place in the form of centre- come-winger Esi Tonga.

Esi has all the skills, and while he had a few setbacks with injuries and illness last year, I reckon he’s primed for a big 2011. I can’t wait to see how he gets on against the Broncos tomorrow.

Bring it on!

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