In the game of NRL, it is inevitable that we see players ruled out for the season with varying injuries – but for players that are a bit older, the recovery process is made tougher, but the desire to return to the field, is stronger.
For Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri, who is off-contract at season’s end, he believes that he has more to offer the NRL, and that he is not done, when it comes to play NRL.
Tuqiri, who broke his arm following a freak collision with his team-mates – had a plate inserted underneath his elbow, and a rod in his arm, before being released by surgeons on Wednesday.
Despite having his arm in a cast, Lote’s bid to start training early is something he wants to do – with the Tigers veteran to start light training with the club, despite the cast.
“I am keen to play on”, said Tuqiri.
“I definitely do not think I am done”.
“Everybody is saying this, that and the other, that I have played my last game, but I certainly have not played my last game. Whether it be at the Tigers or another club, I will certainly be playing professional footy somewhere next year”.
Although remaining at the Tigers is Tuqiri’s number one option, he has received calls from other potential suitors, all interested to have a chat with him and discuss his future.
“I reckon that I have two more years in me”, Tuqiri said.
“I will back myself to do that. I still think I can compete at this level. I have never wavered in that sense. I have still got confidence in my ability, in my body, to be up there with the young blokes. Hopefully I will come to an agreement with the Tigers. If not, so be it – I have other options”.
It was his humerus that broke to be exact, after just eight minutes into the Bulldogs clash – with trainer and former Tiger John Skandalis, believing that Tuqiri had dislocated his elbow at first.
“It was just one of those things.” Tuqiri said.
“You do not expect that in the game”.
Tuqiri was taken to the medical centre within the Allianz Stadium complex, and watched the Tigers play on the TV, whilst he was assessed by doctors.
“I knew it was bad, but I was trying to be positive,” he said.
“I was still in a bit of shock. I was trying to read people’s faces. I did not really want to read them, but it was hard not to. They had good poker faces”.
Once Tuqiri saw the x-ray of his injury, along with close to a million people who saw it whilst watching Nine’s coverage of the game – Tuqiri knew that his season was done and dusted.
“I knew it was coming”, he said.
“I knew it was not good. The pain was getting worse. I just had to take a few deep breaths and realise my season was probably over”.
Tuqiri’s jersey had to be cut off, before he was eventually taken to Macquarie Hospital.
“It is still so shattering now – I do not know if it has hit me yet”, Tuqiri said.
“I tend to be a positive person, so I tried to move on. ‘Ok, what is the plan?”
“I am happy with the way it has gone. I have the rod in, and it is not feeling strong, obviously. But I do know that this will come right. Hopefully I will get back next week or the week after, and maybe do something on the bike, keep the body ticking away”.