Business as usual for McKinnon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Business as usual for McKinnon

By Robert Lowe 06/08/2008 10:46:09 PM Comments (0)

Wade McKinnon is expecting a bit of rust after missing five months of the NRL through injury, but will look to treat his return against the Broncos on Saturday like business as usual.

The New Zealand Warriors fullback was initially ruled out for the season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee in a pre-season trial against Newcastle in February.

But with the Warriors finals hopes teetering after their loss to South Sydney last weekend, McKinnon has been rushed back into the No.1 jersey for his first NRL appearance of the year in Auckland.

He will be back in his customary fullback spot, where his line-breaking ability and kick returns made him a standout in his debut campaign with the club last year.

"No doubt I'll be a bit rusty because I haven't played for a year," he said.

"But I'm confident I've put all the hard work in, so it's just another game for me."

McKinnon, 27, underwent surgery after suffering the serious knee injury. The initial prognosis was that he would be out for the entire year but two months ago there were indications that he could be available earlier.

McKinnon said he was excited that his long wait to get on the field again was about to be over, but did not feel any extra pressure despite the publicity over his return.

The fact that he would be making his 100th first-grade appearance when he ran out against the Broncos was not uppermost in his mind.

"It doesn't mean a thing, it's my first game of the season," he said.

"I'm just going to go out there and play my normal game. I'm not really thinking too much about it. I'm just treating it like every game I've played."

McKinnon said he had been able to run freely in training with no restrictions in movement in his knee.

He had been doing contact work for some weeks and expected to last the full game.

His return means his replacement, utility Lance Hohaia, who went well at fullback despite little experience in the position before this year, moves to the interchange bench.

McKinnon acknowledged Hohaia's performances in his absence.

"Lance has done awesome," he said.

"He's been probably our best player all year. If I can go out there and play like Lance, I'll be happy."

McKinnon was a regular on the sidelines supporting the Warriors during his time out.

He said the hours he spent alone exercising on the bike was the toughest part of his rehabilitation and being with his teammates had kept his spirits up.

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