Gaz finally over ankle woes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gaz finally over ankle woes

Ian McCullough 19/01/2011 03:26:07 PM Comments (0)

Mark Gasnier revealed he played through the pain barrier last year in helping St George Illawarra win their first NRL premiership.

The 29-year-old only showed flashes of his former brilliance for Wayne Bennett's side, but said an ankle problem hindered him as the joint-venture ended their long wait for a grand final victory.

Gasnier picked up the injury playing for French rugby side Stade Francais almost two years ago and was nursed through the season by the Dragons' medical staff, before undergoing an operation to fix the problem.

"I did some damage in only the second game I played in Paris, I tore some ligaments and chipped some bone, and I got away with it for a year-and-a-half, by strapping it up but I decided I had to get it fixed as it was weak," Gasnier said.

"Last season I couldn't really step off it, I am not making any excuses but it was a hindrance and really affected me.

"I got it cleaned up after the grand final and I've had some pretty intense rehab since and now I am back in full training and it feels a lot better now and it's all systems go."

Gasnier has also bulked up in the off-season and returned to the 101kg he tipped the scales at when he left the NRL in 2008.

After spending time in France, Gasnier's muscle-mass dropped and the club felt he would not return to his very best until he put the weight back on.

"I was about 96-97kgs when I came back, but you normally tweak with it during the season," Gasnier said.

"Ultimately if I can carry it and feel fit and strong I will play as heavy as I can this season."

Although he admits pre-season training has been harder than ever, Gasnier said the chance to really get to know his teammates has made it worthwhile.

"Spending pre-season with them has allowed me to reacquaint myself with them, as pre-season, as hard as it is, allows you to sit back and have a laugh, whereas in the season it is a bit more intense" he said.

"Everything is good fitness-wise at the moment and I am looking forward to a full season."

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