Tate: Fighting the Origin battle within

Warriors centre Brent Tate has spoken for the first time about his struggle against depression in the weeks since his latest season-ending knee injury.<br><br>While most of the rugby league world gears up for next week’s opening State of Origin game at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, Tate is Queensland’s forgotten man after damaging the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during his side’s Round 3 loss to Brisbane.<br><br>It comes less than two years after he suffered an identical injury to his left knee in his final season for the Broncos and follows a career-threatening neck injury that plagued him between 2004 and 2006.<br><br>But while the 27-year-old is used to long stints on the sideline, he told NRL.com that he had found the mental battle particularly difficult this time around.<br><br>“I’ve really struggled – more than ever before,” Tate said from his Auckland home. <br><br>“I’ve missed footy the other times too but this time I’m really struggling not playing. <br><br>It’s hard to get motivated to do my rehab every day because I’ve been there before and I know what I’ve got to go through. <br><br>“It’s the mental battle more than anything.<br><br>“I’ve been a bit down. <br><br>“At the moment the knee feels pretty good but it is knowing how long there is left to go.”<br><br>Tate said the arrival of the representative season – combined with the Warriors’ on-field struggles – had made his absence particularly difficult after playing all three games for Queensland in 2008.<br><br>“A lot of it has to do with the time of year that I’ve done it, with the Test match a few weeks ago and Origin just around the corner,” he said. <br><br>“With the boys (Warriors) doing it a bit tough at the moment too it’s been really hard.”<br><br>Asked how he had avoided slipping into depression, Tate credited the birth of his first son Kyden last year for keeping him grounded.<br><br>“I’ve got a young family at home so having a nine-month-old baby – I think I’m very lucky to have them there at home, it’s really helped me,” he said. <br><br>“Kids don’t care what’s going on outside the house. They just love seeing you and it helps you forget your problems. <br><br>“But in terms of getting depressed, you just can’t let yourself. You’ve got a family to look after, and that loves you.”<br><br>Tate’s days are a story of monotony and frustration.<br><br>Since undergoing surgery in April he has had to learn to walk again – one step at a time – and while his team-mates are running training drills on Mt Smart Stadium he is restricted to the bike and the pool.<br><br>“It’s all pretty basic,” Tate explained. “The first eight weeks you’ve just got to get the range back in your knee and learn how to walk again.<br><br>“So I do a lot of walking and a lot of cycling to try and build the knee back up.<br><br>“It’s pretty slow – I do that five days a week and give it a rest on the weekends.”<br><br>The Warriors could do with Tate’s influence right now too.<br><br>Among the pre-season premiership favourites, they began the year with consecutive wins over Parramatta and Manly but have gradually slipped off the pace with just two wins and a draw in their eight games since.<br><br>“They just seem to be lacking a bit of confidence,” Tate said of his team-mates.<br><br>“We went through the same thing last year as well and I don’t know if they expect it all to come good but it looks like a confidence thing. <br><br>“Only those guys that are playing at the moment can get us out of the mess that we’ve got ourselves in but I know that we can do it. <br><br>“It’s never been a question of talent, we just have to start coming together.”<br>