Vatuvei fired up for NRL return
After a month away from the game to focus on some personal issues, Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei is primed to unleash on the Broncos this Saturday in Auckland.
The 30-year-old hasn't played an NRL Telstra Premiership game since April 25, when the Warriors were humiliated 42-0 by the Melbourne Storm.
Since then he has been disciplined for failing to meet team standards following a night out with five teammates, before being granted medical leave to deal with some other off-field issues relating to his personal life.
But ahead of his Round 13 return Vatuvei said he was ready to let his footy do the talking once again.
"I'm just like a little kid going back onto their playground, I am really excited and just can't wait to run out on the field," Vatuvei said mid-week.
"I am really excited to be back on the field, especially at home [at Mt Smart Stadium].
"It has been a while, it feels like it's going to be my first game. I am in a happy mindset now and just moving on with things."
Vatuvei revealed he seriously considered quitting the club recently, after struggling with a number of issues which were also taking on a toll on his wife and young children.
Despite returning to training on May 9, Vatuvei was made unavailable for selection in the Warriors' last two games by coach Andrew McFadden in a bid to let him fully focus on addressing those problems.
"With the mindset that I was in then, I was in a bad headspace and the first reaction I had was to finish and take all that off my family," Vatuvei said.
"That's who I was focussed on because everything that happens to me happens to them too.
"I just want to get back into the enjoyment again, and that's playing footy.
"I have got a lot of motivation now to get back.
"They [the Warriors] are a big family to me, everyone means a lot to me and everyone has played a big part in my career.
"Being here, I am one of their children.
"I have just got to enjoy the moment now and hopefully stay here for a few more years."
Meanwhile McFadden said the return of the 215-game veteran on the left wing against Brisbane will be a significant boost for his 14th-placed side, as they search for their fifth win this season.
In his five games this year 'The Beast' has averaged 12.2 carries and 120 metres per match, as well as scoring two tries.
"His sheer size and his aggression when he carries the footy, when you lose players like Manu in a team you really understand what you miss," McFadden said.
"We have missed that real aggression that he has.
"He gets a chance to go out and do what he does best now."