Game on: Tuqiri puts horror run behind him
February 19, 2012
LOTE TUQIRI is keen to get back on the field. And stay on it.
The Wests Tigers winger, off contract at the end of the year, has signalled his intention to continue playing into his 33rd year.
And while he would like to remain with the Tigers, the dual international hasn’t ruled out returning to rugby.
‘‘I’d love to play on - that’s the main goal,’’ Tuqiri said. ''I just have to get back on the field and get some footy under my belt. Obviously, I didn’t play a lot last year, just a handful of games, so hopefully this year I’ll play a hell of a lot more.
''But the intention is, yes, to play somewhere. I’d contemplate [rugby]. The mind and body are willing and able. I don’t see age as a barrier if you look after yourself. I really don’t mind. I’d like to go around in league but the main goal is to get back on the field for the Tigers.
‘‘I’d definitely like to see what they have to offer.’’
Tuqiri was limited to just nine appearances last year due to a series of injuries and his return has been held back due to an off-season wrist surgery. While he’ll definitely miss the opening rounds, the former Waratah is hoping to add to his 133 NRL games as soon as the round-three clash against the Dragons.
‘‘I’m doing all the running, so I’m getting fit, just not as much contact as the other boys,’’ he said. ''Being able to train with the team again has given me a lot of confidence.
''I was watching training the other day and we’ve got a really good team this year.
‘’[That’s] not to say we didn’t over the last couple of years but when you look at the quality, what we’ve bought, we feel good about our depth and what we have to offer.‘’
Tuqiri broke back into the representative league ranks following an eight-year stint in the rival code, but his focus is simply to get back on the park.
‘‘I don’t like talking about that rep stuff too much because you put too much pressure on yourself and everyone else,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s not my go.’’
While he is not the type to impose himself on teammates, the veteran winger has enjoyed the opportunity to mentor some of the Tiger cubs coming through the ranks.
‘‘I’ve got a bit of a leadership role with the Pacific Islander boys,’’ the Fijian said. ''We’ve got a fair few at the club in the under 20s and first grade.
‘‘If I can help any of those guys out it’s an easy thing for me because I’ve got a bit of experience growing up as one coming through different situations.’’
while i love lote, it is hard not to think that his body is getting too old. i wish him all the best and hope he is on the field all year!
he has a great attitude and im sure he is a fantastic positive influence. does sound a little like he feels he is in for a fight to keep his spot in the side even if fit, which is a great situation for the club and could see him really fly this season… i hope so!