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Shackleton happy to be back

Steve Jancetic 14/02/2011 08:12:51 PM Comments (0)

Fifteen minutes of action in a low-key NRL trial may not seem like a big deal, but not many players have had to endure what Parramatta backrower Shane Shackleton went through to achieve it.

Shackleton on Saturday night made his return from an 11-month layoff after tearing the hamstring off the bone in last year's season opener against St George Illawarra - his first game for the club.

The long recovery process finally came to an end against the Warriors in Rotorua, with the former Sydney Roosters forward coming off the bench in the 24-4 loss.

"It was really good - they just started me off slowly and I didn't play too many minutes - for my first game back in 11 months I was really happy with it," Shackleton said.

"The nerves weren't even that bad either - this time last week I was more nervous than I was just before the game.

"Considering the circumstances, I was pretty calm - I thought I'd be a lot worse."

With that run under the belt, Shackleton is hoping to double his game time in Saturday night's trial against Wests Tigers at Campbelltown - with a round one return to New Zealand to take on the Warriors firmly in his sights.

When he arrived at the Eels - who had been to the grand final the previous year - Shackleton, along with fellow recruit Justin Poore, was seen as the key to taking the club a step further in 2010.

But his campaign lasted just 22 minutes, with his painful injury an early taste of what was to come for the Eels who failed to make it back to the top eight.

Ironically Parramatta's unsuccessful late charge at a finals berth may have been a blessing for Shackleton - who had been attempting to make a return late in the season.

"If the guys had made the semis I might have even looked at playing but looking at how I am now compared to how I was then, I probably would have been mad to try to have done that," Shackleton said.

"I'm very excited looking towards this year and I'm very keen to repay everyone that stuck by me and prove that I was a good buy (for the club)."

Meanwhile, the Eels will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first premiership at the club's gala season launch on Thursday night.

Players from the club's four premiership sides - their last of which was in 1986 - will be at the function and will present jumpers to the 2011 squad, which will be signed and donated to an auction to benefit the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal.

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