Back on the paddock and raring to go, Roosters hooker Sam Verrills is champing at the bit to show his teammates and the defending Premiers his credentials in the no.9 jersey.
The 23-year-old made his first return against the Parramatta Eels in Round 15 following a six-week stint on the sidelines nursing a fractured collarbone, racking up an impressive 40 tackles in just 61 minutes.
Verrills: "We Can't Wait to Test Ourselves on Friday Night"
Now facing up against the Penrith Panthers this Friday night in the Tricolours' greatest test of the season yet, Verrills is itching to take the field and kick-start the Roosters' run to September.
“I can’t wait to come up against Penrith,” Verrills beamed.
“They’re playing really good footy at the moment and it’s a good test for us.
“I can’t wait for the ten more games before the finals and for us to have a good run at the back end of the year. That’s what we need at the moment.
“I can’t wait to get back in there and show the boys that I’m fit and ready to go.”
Following a frustrating couple of years on the sidelines which saw him deal with a detached retina to the dreaded ACL tear, the young rake is determined more than ever to stay on the field long-term and rack up as many consecutive games in the Red, White and Blue as possible.
It was during this arduous period that Verrills took comfort in both the Club's support network and his family, and says he is intent on making them and Head Coach Trent Robinson proud.
“The rig’s good,” he confirmed.
“It’s been a frustrating year I guess with injuries but the body is sweet and I can’t wait to go on Friday night.
“It’s frustrating but playing Rugby League, it’s a contact sport and injuries happen. You’ve got to stay positive. The NRL is a grind and you get back in the next day and get ready to work.
You’ve got the boys around you. Family is a massive one but everyone knows everyone’s background, especially at this Club we do it really well here and I guess you just try to stay positive.Sam Verrills On dealing with injuries
“It’s not a good feeling and emotions do become involved and it is tough, but you’ve got your teammates, your family to look to. You’ve just got to stay on top of your body.
“You’ve got the boys around you. Family is a massive one but everyone knows everyone’s background, especially at this Club we do it really well here and I guess you just try to stay positive.
“For me to come straight back in and play footy for this Club is huge. He’s (Robinson) got a lot of trust in me to get the job done.”
Two key men for the Roosters are looking to make a return to the side this weekend, with marathon-man Joseph Manu coming back from a record-breaking performance against Tonga, while halfback Luke Keary continues to push for selection against the Panthers.
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Verrills had nothing but praise for the duo for their contribution to the side.
“He’s important to anyone, he’s one of the best players in the game, to be honest,” he said of the Roosters’ no.7.
“He pushes us around the park which is a massive part of our game and his direction and voice is huge.
“When you lose your star playmaker it’s tough. When he comes back in he’ll do the job and direct us around the field and show his leadership.
“When you lace up your boots and you’ve got him there you feel confident in your gameplan every week when he’s out there on the field.
“He’s a great player and we can’t wait to have him back.”
“He’s a freak,” he said of Manu.
“I watched a bit of the game and every time he goes back to New Zealand and plays as fullback or when he steps up for us there he runs a ridiculous amount of metres.
“We talk about how he’s just a footy player and one of the good guys of Rugby League.
“He’s a special talent, Joey and we’re so lucky to have him and to get 404 (metres) in an international, that’s crazy.”