Brailey refreshed after broken jaw

Mashed potato, chicken, avocado, sour cream and salsa; it sounds like the perfect little Mexican feast to keep you warm during the winter months. 

For Sharks hooker Jayden Brailey, this has been his go-to meal in recent weeks. Except there's one little twist.

While most of us would use a knife and fork to down this hearty meal, Brailey was blitzing it up and eating it with a spoon as he recovered from a broken jaw that saw his season come to a grinding halt in Round 16. 

The 21-year-old had been having a sensational rookie season until the sickening collision that saw him forced from Southern Cross Group Stadium after 48 minutes against the Sea Eagles with blood pouring from his mouth. 

Brailey had two plates inserted on both breaks on either side of his jaw that will stay in there forever while he also had wiring put in to hold a couple of his teeth in place to ensure his jaw held together. The wire was eventually removed after six weeks, as were his wisdom teeth in a bonus bit of surgery to take advantage of him being under the knife. 

"It was a funny injury because not only did it affect me on the field, but also off the field. I couldn't eat for the best part of five or six weeks or whatever it was," he said of the recovery period. 

"At the same time I was kind of lucky in a way because it could have been a knee, ankle or something like that where I couldn't train or work on myself physically within that time. I just tried to look at it as positively as I could and I set milestones throughout that time from week to week and I just tried to keep that weight on.

"I only lost two kilos but I was expecting to lose about five kilos because I lose weight pretty easily. I was just force feeding myself and mum was blending everything you could think of. 

"I couldn't open my jaw properly for a week – I couldn't talk properly for a week – but after that I was eating out of a spoon… soft food or liquidy food that I didn't have to chew at all."

 


The 2016 Dally M Holden Cup Player of the Year has spent the past few weeks doing restricted training with the main playing group and his extra efforts saw him rewarded with a starting spot in his return to the field in the 26-16 win over the Cowboys on Saturday. 

The youngster could have shied away from the contact but instead embraced the challenge, running for 61 metres – three shy of his season best – while he also opened the scoring to celebrate his return in style. 

"I was never scared about my jaw – I'm not worried about it – I had faith in our medical team that it was ready to go," he insisted. 

"I was probably running a bit more because our middles were going forward and it was one of their best games of the year so it made my job a lot easier.

"It was funny because I felt a bit different on the weekend. I didn't feel tired, I didn't feel too fatigued… I felt refreshed. In that first contact I was thinking about it the whole game and I just wanted to get up hard and rip in."