Storm back-rower Tohu Harris in the 2016 grand final.

Injuries finally catch up with Tohu Harris

The word 'injury' didn’t feature in Tohu Harris' vocabulary heading into 2017.

As far as the Storm second-rower was concerned, any lay-offs involved rest or minor niggles instead of season-crippling time off.

Harris has had a somewhat injury-free career, only missing seven games and playing 103 between 2013 and 2016. But he has had a difficult time of it this year battling varying complaints.

He started the year with a two-month layoff for a broken foot, soldiered through leg complaints and has only just returned from a shoulder injury.

Harris says it's been a difficult time.

"It's extremely hard," he said. 

"Especially this is the first season I've missed games through injury. It's something I've had to learn. It's hard to do, but seeing the guys go out there and play so well and with the success they've had it makes it easier, knowing the club is still rolling on."

The hardest part is not contributing to the team and particularly on game day, Harris said.

"You get used to the process for preparing for the game and on game day, everything you do leading up to the warm-up, then going out and playing you're not part of all of that," he said. 

"It’s a strange feeling, watching it and not being able to do it."

Harris's most recent complaint – a rotator cuff injury – is starting to come right after a delayed process.

"It's been a bit unsettled for a few weeks now," he said. 

"It's slowly come right. It felt good in the game against Newcastle, so hopefully I can keep building that strength in it and hopefully keeps getting better.

"I knew that it was important to take the time to get it right."

The time away from the field hasn’t shaken his confidence at all but tests other things.

"I've been extremely lucky, especially the first four years – [the injuries] must have just all caught up," he said.

"It doesn’t shake the confidence, but tests the patience and other things as well."

Harris says he's also gained an appreciation on how hard the other players have worked this year and has resulted in success on the field.

"Taking a step back you see how hard they work and prepare for games, it makes you want to step up that preparation as well," he said.