Nearing the completion of his rehabilitation from an ACL rupture, Sam Verrills is looking primed to return to the field in the early stages of the season.
Coming off a starring performance in the 2019 NRL Grand Final victory, an even bigger 2020 season was in the sights for the young hooker, however, fate took its turn and a rupture of his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) saw the 22-year-old sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Now nearing his return to the field after an arduous rehabilitation process, Verrills has confirmed that he is on track to get back into the famous Red, White and Blue.
"It's coming along nicely as planned," Verrills said.
"We've got some great physios here at the Club, Adam Bentley, Travvy (High Performance Manager Travis Touma) as well.
"The downside is I have to hang around Victor Radley the whole time (laughs), but it's coming along really well."
You have your down days and ones where it's hard to find motivation with some things, but he's (Radley) been good.Sam Verrills Roosters Hooker
The dreaded ACL rehabilitation - usually a nine to twelve-month process - can be as taxing mentally as it can be physically.
Luckily for Verrills, he has the perfect partner to continue his rehabilitation through in Radley - in a dynamic which he says has benefitted him through the past twelve months.
"It's been good," Verrills admitted.
"You have your down days and ones where it's hard to find motivation with some things, but he's (Radley) been good.
"It's just constant laughs with him, it's been a long road and I can't wait to get back out there and play some footy."
With plenty of competition for the no.9 jersey, Verrills will be determined to don the jersey he wore in the 2019 decider and credited captain Jake Friend - one of the contenders for the jumper - for his mentoring in the early stages of his career.
"It's awesome," Verrills said of his relationship with Friend.
"He's been playing in the NRL for something like twelve or thirteen seasons now, he's been a beast and he really looks after me.
"He's taught me a lot of things and has been a great mentor."
Hailing from Sydney's North Shore, Verrills is familiar with the Club's Round 1 opponents, having played junior grades at Manly, and says he is looking forward to the possibility of lining up for the first game of the season with the hopes of having an injury-free season.
"I spent a few years there in the juniors, and I still live in Avalon now," he said.
"It's a great part of the world but it's going to be a good game against them.
"Manly have a good side, and being Round 1 you never know what's going to happen because it's the first game of the season, but I'm looking forward to it.
"It's an obvious one, but my personal goal for 2021 is to stay injury-free. I've never really had a big injury before and now I'm coming off one, it's something I want to stay away from.
"I'm determined to get back on the field and play good footy."