June 5, 2011
WESTS TIGERS star Lote Tuqiri will enter tomorrow night’s clash against the Knights with a sense of trepidation after suffering serious complications following surgery on his arms.
Tuqiri underwent an operation after breaking a forearm in round three against Canberra at Campbelltown and was originally expected to return three weeks ago after almost two months of rehabilitation.
After being hospitalised last month and suffering a second infection in his other arm as a result, Tuqiri’s long-awaited return was delayed until tomorrow night, steel plate, pins, arm brace and all.
“I’m looking forward to it but I’m also a bit nervous about the arm - I haven’t come back from a long injury lay-off during a season, so there’s a bit of trepidation,” Tuqiri said.
"I couldn’t have come back any sooner. This is the first week that I’ve really been confident enough to give it a go. I was on track to come back three weeks ago but ended up having an infection in there that I didn’t realise I had - the arm didn’t settle down as much as it should have after surgery.
“So I went into hospital for close to a week to flush it with antibiotics and then I when I finally came out I had to go back in because the other arm, the good one, started to swell up and ended up having an infection as well - something I picked up in hospital. It’s pretty bad.”
Tuqiri revealed that frustration got the better of him at stages as he was quarantined from his family and his teammates for a seemingly innocuous broken arm.
“I wasn’t in a good place,” he said. “Just four walls, it was doing my head in. So to be out now, it’s just been good to finally be back with the boys and back into it. But it’s been a tough few months. It was so frustrating. I didn’t know when I was due to come back. I was in here training and doing everything with the rehab group and then got the infection and the setback. But such is life.”
While the 32-year-old has lost several kilograms as a result of not training, Tuqiri said he expected to play the full 80 minutes and was determined to get his first tackle out of the way as early as possible to erase any lingering doubts.
“I’m not scared of making tackles or anything, it’s just wrapping the arm around and grabbing - it’s such a big piece of padding,” he said.
"But after the first tackle it will be fine. Once I’m working, whatever. The good thing is the bone is healing. The plate is fine and the screws are intact and the bone’s coming back.
''It’s quite tight, the skin around where they put the plate in, and I’ve got to get used to wearing an arm-guard now for the next couple of weeks at least. I had one made up. I probably should have called up Petero Civoniceva or Mal Meninga, Fuifui Moimoi or one of the boys to borrow theirs.
"So I’ll have to get my head around it because it does make a difference wearing it. You think about your arm a fair bit more than what I probably should.
"I’ve been doing some high intensity stuff at training, blokes running at me fast and a bit of wrestling. It was fine. I think I hurt more blokes with the busted arm then I do normally.
“I’ll try and play a full game. And I am on the wing, so …”
On the opposing wing will be Newcastle powerhouse Akuila Uate, who said he was excited to again be coming up against his childhood hero and fellow Fijian-born flyer.
‘‘I’m looking forward to playing against Lote, it’s going to be exciting,’’ Uate said. ‘‘I used to look up to Lote Tuqiri when I was young, he was one of my big idols back in the day when I was in Fiji. To play against him last year was a great experience and it’s great to be able to do it again on Monday.’’
Really looking forward to having Lote back.
Hope he jumps straight back in with a great performance, we could do with his flair !
Go Lote !!