When he returned to the NRL, some had their doubts he if was at full fitness, and now, the confirmation has come from the man himself, with Mark Gasnier saying that he was playing through the pain barrier in 2010.

Gasnier, 29, showed some of the semblance of form that saw him become a crowd favourite amongst Dragons faithful, but the consistency was lacking when needed, and he acknowledges that.

The ankle injury, which hampered Gasnier’s movement and mobility was sustained incredibly, 2 years ago during his time at the French Union side, Stade Francais, in which Gasnier had constant treatment for it throughout the season, before undergoing an operation.

“I did some damage in only the second game I played in Paris, I tore some ligaments and chipped some bone, and I got away with it for a year-and-a-half, by strapping it up but I decided I had to get it fixed as it was weak,” Gasnier said.

“Last season I couldn’t really step off it, I am not making any excuses but it was a hindrance and really affected me.

“I got it cleaned up after the grand final and I’ve had some pretty intense rehab since and now I am back in full training and it feels a lot better now and it’s all systems go.”

Gasnier has also bulked up since his return to the NRL, and he is now 101 kg, the same weight he was when he left the NRL in 2008.

“I was about 96-97kgs when I came back, but you normally tweak with it during the season,” Gasnier said.

“Ultimately if I can carry it and feel fit and strong I will play as heavy as I can this season.”

Since his return, Gasnier has also been given the chance to talk to his team-mates in more depth, and get to know them on a more personal level, a level which he believes is great for team chemistry.

“Spending pre-season with them has allowed me to reacquaint myself with them, as pre-season, as hard as it is, allows you to sit back and have a laugh, whereas in the season it is a bit more intense” he said.

“Everything is good fitness-wise at the moment and I am looking forward to a full season.”

By ricky

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