Good news for injured Rooster
The Roosters' forward stocks are set to receive a boost in the coming weeks with up-and-coming star Nat Butcher set to return from a partially torn labrum.
The 19-year-old played a key role in the Roosters' improbable Holden Cup premiership last season and was deservedly named the Rugby League Players Association's under-20s player of the year after he topped the league in metres gained and tackles made.
Butcher – who made his NRL debut off the bench in the Round 26 loss to the Broncos – frustratingly missed the first month of the year having undergone shoulder surgery in the off-season.
His NYC return in the Round 5 win over Manly was going well with the workhorse lock chalking up 119 metres, 16 tackles and a try assist in 45 minutes, and it appeared he'd put the cherry on top when he crashed through to score a well-deserved four-pointer.
However, concerns were raised when Butcher stayed down rather than celebrating with his teammates, and it soon became clear that he had injured his shoulder, although thankfully it wasn't the same one that had required surgery.
"I scored the try and had the right arm out with the ball and when I went to ground, the shoulder came out," Butcher told NRL.com.
"The doctor and physio were able to put it back in quite well and the scans showed just a little labrum tear.
"I was tossing up whether to get surgery then and there or go through rehab, but obviously being one game back, I wanted to rehab it and hopefully finish off the rest of the season. I've been rehabbing it ever since and I should be back in the next couple of weeks.
"I was pretty disappointed [when it happened] and I knew worst case scenario that that was my season over then and there.
"We went and got the scans after the game and it showed that it wasn't too bad and that we'd be able to rehab it. I'm feeling stronger than ever now so I'm just looking forward to playing again."
Butcher recently resumed contact work and is keen to ease his way back into the NYC before he even thinks about a promotion to the Intrust Super Premiership or the NRL.
"I just started doing contact and wrestle and a lot of stability work in the gym," he said.
"I'll go back to 20s and then I'm hoping to hit the form that I was playing last year. Hopefully I can move up through the grades at the backend of the season, but if not then I'll stay in 20s and play good footy there."