Tupou wanted to play on with smashed jaw
On the eve of his return from a horrific broken jaw suffered in a tackle from Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell in Round 9, Sharks forward Anthony Tupou says he's lucky the club trainer forced him straight off.
Tupou also said he bears no ill will to Hurrell, whose raised knee left him in need of an operation to have his jaw pieced back together with four plates, stating Hurrell had gone to lengths to apologise over the incident.
It seems fitting Tupou's return to football will be against the side he suffered the injury playing, while it will also be Hurrell's return to first grade after a month out through injury and suspension.
"It's crazy the way stuff works," Tupou reflected of the coincidence of his opposition this weekend.
"That was my last game and next round I'm back to playing them. I get a bit of confidence in that, I wasn't away too long, I'm back and ready to go for them."
He said he heard from Hurrell a few times after it happened.
"He tried to contact me through a few different [channels], through Facebook and stuff like that. I spoke to him and he felt bad.
"I didn't feel like he needed to apologise because I don't think he meant to hurt me. Just to see him and to know how he felt about it, that was enough for me."
Tupou also thanked the trainer for ensuring he didn't play on with what he first thought was just a couple of broken teeth.
"I just remember being on the ground and getting up and I thought it might just be a little knock in the head, I'll be right. Then I felt my teeth," he said.
"If you get a little chip on your tooth it feels like you're missing a tooth or a couple of teeth but my teeth were sort of everywhere so I thought 'far out, I could lose a few teeth here' but I didn't know it was my jaw.
"They say in video [sessions] if it's not a serious injury, and a tooth's not that bad, you've got to get up and go. That's why if you see me [straight after the incident] I'm trying to have a look around because I think it might just be my teeth and I might have to get back in the line.
"I think the trainer knew that it was a broken jaw, he must have seen a few, and he said 'no you've got to come off'. I'm happy it happened that way because if I tried to play on with that it would have been bad."
A long injury history has helped Tupou learn how to come back from serious injury setbacks, and he said the key is just to throw yourself into it as much as you can.
"I broke my leg, I snapped my leg and that was the hardest one. Especially the timing of that, I was about to debut two days later, I've had harder things to come back from [than the jaw]," he said.
"Going through all that kind of stuff you learn how your mentality has to be. I think that's helped me with this.
"You have to work pretty hard if you want to come back and that's what I tried to do."
Tupou added after a month ripping in at training and scrimmaging against NSW Cup players to get his fitness back following a few weeks off his feet post-surgery, he was ready to go.
"They said it's healed really good and I'm good to go. I got the clearance off [the doctors]. I think the Sharks were leaving it up to me. I just missed footy too much."