Minichiello back after long lay off - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Minichiello back after long lay off

By Todd Balym 07/06/2008 02:07:14 PM Comments (0)

Anthony Minichiello knows he will never put his career-threatening back injuries fully behind him.

But the Sydney Roosters fullback has vowed to never make the same mistakes again and become complacent over an injury which could easily curtail his career at any moment.

"I have to make sure I manage it right," Minichiello said of his future.

"I've struggled with injuries the last two and a half years so I've got a lot of knowledge on it now.

"Even if I'm feeling really good, which I am now, I still have to stick to my program."

The 28-year-old will finally make a return from his third sideline spell when the Roosters travel to Brookvale Oval on Sunday to play Manly.

He has not played since his back pain flared following the round four win over the Bulldogs, his expected "few weeks" absence extending to nine after a mid-recovery setback and the club's extreme caution before allowing Minichiello to return.

Both his previous injury scares resulted in surgery but rest and rehabilitation has helped Minichiello return to the field this time without requiring another operation.

The former Test fullback insists he is not nervous about his comeback match, but is anxious to get some early touches under his belt.

"(Recovery) took longer than I thought but I'm feeling pretty good at the moment and can't wait to get out there and have a few runs," said Minichiello.

"We did a bit of opposed work with the younger kids (during the week) and it did hit home that I was playing this weekend.

"I don't get too nervous ... at this stage I'm pretty relaxed."

The Roosters head to Brookvale in vastly different circumstances to their most recent visit which resulted in a 56-0 thumping and coach Chris Anderson resigning late last year.

In the 20 rounds of competition since the Roosters have moved from second-last on the NRL table to ladder leaders.

But despite their lofty position the Roosters will start outsiders against Manly because they are without four Origin stars as opposed to one and the Sea Eagles are strong performers at home.

"I remember watching that game and it was a pretty bad moment for the club," said Minichiello of last year's round 17 mauling.

"We've turned it around within a year though which is good. We were last (15th) last year and now we're sitting on top at the moment but we know there's still a long way to go until the end of the season.

"The feeling in the camp at this stage is quite good."

Minichiello's confidence is boosted by the young Chooks efforts three weeks ago when their Origin stars were away and they upset Parramatta with a 32-12 thumping.

"It's going to be a tough ask (at Manly) but the way the young kids are playing at the moment I think we will win," he said.

"When they got their chance against Parramatta they really stepped up and gave the older guys in the team enthusiasm and it was good to watch."

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