Upbeat Buhrer just wants to rip in
Despite a run of injuries so bad you wouldn't blame him for deciding he must be cursed, Manly back-rower Jamie Buhrer has shrugged it all off and says he's just looking forward to making the most of what is still a substantial amount of footy left to be played in 2016.
Buhrer was restricted to just seven games last year thanks to an ACL injury and knee reconstruction. He came back in this year's Auckland Nines and suffered a broken jaw that delayed his start to the year, then in his first NRL game of the year in Round 4 he broke a thumb that put him back on the sidelines until this week's Round 11 return.
Speaking to NRL.com from the club's Narrabeen training base this week, Buhrer admitted it had been a "testing time" but refused to dwell on the unlucky run, noting plenty of other players have had it worse.
"It's only coming into Round 11 so there's that much footy left to play. At this stage I'm excited and I'm feeling petty fresh and looking forward to making an impact," the upbeat 26-year-old said.
"Over the last couple of years and I've been quite unlucky. I've had plenty of time to watch the boys and watch them play and it's certainly made me a lot hungrier and a lot more appreciative of the opportunities I've been given.
"I just want to rip in, I want to enjoy my footy. I'm really appreciative of every opportunity I get to step out onto the football field now and I'm looking forward to going out there and making an impact for the team."
He admitted that while watching on from the sidelines isn't what any player wants to be doing, he's put his run of bad luck behind him and is feeling good.
"It is what it is, there's no point in moping about it, it happened, I'm not the only person to have received a bit of bad luck in their time," he shrugged.
"I'm back and I'm ready to go and that's all I'm really concentrating on, I'll leave the past in the past.
"It's been a good opportunity to work with the coaching staff, not so much on the footy aspect but the fitness, working on my strength, you've got to look for all the small positives you can when you've got a bit of time on the sidelines and I'm feeling fresh and ready to go."
Buhrer said while he was looking forward to helping build the team's new-look combinations, he had had all pre-season with the new arrivals like Dylan Walker, Matt Parcell, Api Koroisau, Nate Myles and Lewis Brown already.
"We've trained a lot together but they're players I'm looking forward to playing with," he said.
Buhrer's return is extra timely given the three-week suspension to Marty Taupau for a lifting tackle on Brisbane's Matt Gillett last week. While the versatile, 94-kilogram utility forward is hardly a like-for-like replacement for the destructive 111-kilogram Kiwi wrecking ball, Buhrer said it was on the whole team to maintain the necessary aggression in Taupau's absence.
"That falls on everybody. We've definitely got a lot of depth this year in the back row so really there shouldn't be any dip," Buhrer said.
"Marty is an outstanding player and a very important part of our team but it's on us as a forward pack to try and carry that load as well and we have to do it all collectively because at the moment we're not collectively doing it."