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Shack putting horror injury behind him

By Ian McCullough 26/11/2010 03:18:15 PM Comments (0)

The 2011 NRL season can not come soon enough for Parramatta backrower Shane Shackleton.

The 28-year-old joined the Eels from Sydney Roosters at the start of last season, delighted to escape life at the 2009 wooden spoon winners for the NRL premiership favourites.

However, in his first game against St George Illawarra, Shackleton endured an eye-watering hamstring injury, just moments after coming off the interchange bench, when he was caught in the splits position underneath three Dragons players.

Emergency surgery followed 24 hours later to repair the ruptured muscle.

It ruled Shackleton out for the year, an early sign of the frustration ahead for the highly-touted Eels who failed to make the finals, winning just 10 of their 23 games.

In addition to watching helpless as his new teammates struggled, Shackleton then had the ignominy of seeing the Roosters march to the grand final.

"At first it was a bit frustrating watching the Roosters go so well, I was thinking 'that would be right I leave and now they are killing it," Shackleton told AAP.

"But I got over it, and was genuinely happy for the boys there, but you do want to be part of those big games and I hope that I can have a few more here with Parra."

Shackleton admits the injury is still affecting him and has really felt the effects of pre-season training.

"Missing a year of footy has hit me hard in pre-season, you realise how much you miss out being on the sidelines, but I hope I can get back to where I was physically before the injuries," he said.

"I am nice and rested now, I am sick of the spectating and it is nice to be back in pre-season, although they are really giving it to us."

The Eels initially felt Shackleton could have returned at the back end of last season, but the former City Origin representative said it was never really an option.

"If the boys had made the semis then I would have been pushing to play, but looking at how it is now, it would have been mad to come back early," he said.

"It was a blessing in disguise not to make the semis from my point of view."

Suffering such a horrific looking injury was always going to be a mental as well as physical challenge to overcome and Shackleton said the support of his young family got him through the worst.

"I remember when I did it, sticking my leg out and then seeing it look all weird and I knew something bad had happened," he said.

"I have got two daughters who keep me busy, and when you look at them growing up nothing else really matters and having them around put things into perspective."

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