The Rabbitohs recruit flying under the radar

It has typically signaled the start of the rugby league season, but for South Sydney fullback Rhys Wesser this Saturday’s clash with St George Illawarra in the annual Charity Shield represents so much more.<br><br>The former Penrith custodian played just two games for his new club in 2009 after suffering a serious knee injury in Round 2 but after a demoralising 11 months on the sidelines he is set to make his long-awaited return against the Dragons.<br><br>“I only started full training about two weeks ago so it’s s big moment for me,” Wesser told NRL.com today.<br><br>“It’s one of those things that has taken a long time to get right but I believe we’ve taken the right steps and I think I’m right to get out there this weekend and play.<br><br>“It’s been a while since I played a game – since March last year – so to get back in the thick of things will be exciting.”<br><br>Wesser – a premiership winner with the Panthers in 2003 – was one of South Sydney’s key signings last season and scored a try on debut against Sydney Roosters in Round 1. But his year fell apart just a week later when he fell awkwardly in a tackle against Parramatta at ANZ Stadium.<br><br>Originally expected to miss three months of football, the 30-year-old instead missed the entire season with complications repeatedly delaying his return.<br><br>“I think I was actually in too much of a rush to get back and it pushed everything back a bit,” Wesser recalled. “That was frustrating. It happened in Round 2, so sitting out the whole year – I crossed some dark stages there where I didn’t know if I would come back.”<br><br>Asked if retirement had crossed his mind, Wesser replied: “No, that didn’t come into my mind, but you don’t know if you’re injury is going to let you come back or not.<br><br>“As it turns out the summer break really helped.<br><br>“The rehab went pretty well during the break and the last few months it has started to really feel good. <br><br>“I’m sure there will be a few nerves there on Saturday night because I haven’t played in so long but I guess once the game starts instinct takes over and you just do what you’ve got to do.<br><br>“It’s going to be exciting to step back onto the paddock.”<br><br>South Sydney have again been active in the market this season with Brisbane giant Dave Taylor, Great Britain international Sam Burgess and former Queensland prop Ben Ross all arriving in 2010.<br><br>Both Burgess and Taylor will don the red and green this weekend with TAB Sportsbet naming the Rabbitohs $1.75 favourites to down a near full-strength Dragons side ($2.05).<br><br>But Wesser said it was too early to make any wild predictions about what his side is capable of in 2010. <br><br>“We’re just as confident as any other team but you don’t know what’s going to happen until you get out there,” he said.<br><br>“We’ve got some good buys and the pack looks big but until we get out there we won’t know how we’re actually going.<br><br>“For a lot of the boys, this weekend is about blowing the cobwebs out and getting ready for the first game. <br><br>“I know for myself I just want to get out there and get a run underneath my belt.<br><br>“At the same time it’s very close to the season so you want to make sure that you’re developing good habits and doing the right things – that the team is coming together well. <br><br>“So I don’t think we’ll be holding back.”<br>