Selfless Halatau battles through biceps woes
His coach Jason Taylor has made a point of not naming his players when they're underdone yet when it comes to the partially ruptured biceps of Dene Halatau, the stand-in Wests Tigers skipper is resigned to the fact he'll carry the injury for the rest of his life.
With surgery no longer an option for the 32-year-old, Halatau will play on with his biceps injury while also managing a minor groin strain picked up last week at training.
While he probably could've played in the Tigers' 35-12 loss to the Panthers last weekend with his damaged groin, Halatau decided to look forward to this week instead knowing regular rake Robbie Farah would be missing through Origin duty.
"[My biceps] is partially ruptured, nearly all the way through, but there are other players like Anthony Watmough and Brett Kimmorley who did it a few years back and ended up playing with it. The advice is surgery equals season gone, or you can play on," Halatau told NRL.com
"The specialist reckons it won't be any worse by playing with it. You only get a small window to get surgery so otherwise I've decided to make it stay the way it is for good. You lose a little bit of strength, and it's a little bit uncomfortable but it's pretty manageable and it feels better this week.
"The groin however was a little bit of a curve ball at training. It was an early morning start and I tried to run a bit too fast too early. It was touch and go for a while there but decided it would be best to have the week off."
A member of the Tigers' 2005 premiership-winning team, Halatau will captain the club for just the third time ever this Monday night against Parramatta.
Halatau said achieving consistency was the key for his side after six losses in their past seven games, and that captaining the team was an honour.
"The way the game is now, the challenge for us and something we're constantly learning is to be more consistent. It's not going to go away without working hard," he said.
"[Consistency was] something we identified in the pre-season as one of our issues. We knew there were areas in our game that [our coaching staff] saw coming in during the pre-season.
"It wasn't going to be fixed in one pre-season especially when you're trying to change an entire style a side plays and a system of defence which we lacked in the past. It's going to take some time.
"Captaining this club means a lot to me too. Since I've managed to come back to the club [after a four-year stint at the Bulldogs] my family has grown and my eldest really knows what's going on and is excited Dad has the 'c' next to his name."
Despite the Tigers backpedalling every time they seem to get some momentum about them this season, Halatau remained buoyed by the team's positive morale.
"When you get in a situation where you've won less than you've lost the morale tends to go down but everyone is training well and remaining positive," he said. "It helps we have a young squad, the boys are fairly resilient and fairly upbeat."