Five months after a dislocated wrist prematurely ended his rookie season, a fully fit Chanel Harris-Tavita is champing at the bit to return to the field this week at the NRL Nines in Perth.
The 20-year-old playmaker suffered the injury in round 24 last year, and with ligament damage compounding the issue it meant he was ruled out of the end-of-year Oceania Cup Tests and only able to return to contact work in January.
His wrist will likely need to be heavily strapped throughout 2020, but Harris-Tavita said it won't impact his performance in any way ahead of his first outing at an NRL Nines tournament.
"I am 100 per cent. I just have to keep it strapped in case anything happens where I turn it or the same thing happens as when I injured it," Harris-Tavita said.
"[The surgeon] just wanted to tighten everything up so there is less chance of it happening again.
"It's been good so far… I was a little bit [nervous] but the more practice I got with my wrestling and grappling, that sort of helped with my confidence."
Kearney to make tough choice in halves
For the second year in a row Harris-Tavita finds himself locked in a two-way battle for the No.6 jersey, with a strong 2019 putting him in position to unseat the experienced Kodi Nikorima for round one of the new season.
Coach Stephen Kearney will reserve judgement until after the trials but the Nines presents Harris-Tavita with a valuable opportunity to show how he combines with incumbent halfback Blake Green.
"Me and Kodes have had the chance to play with Greeny all pre-season, so it'll be good to team up with him [in a competitive game]," Harris-Tavita said.
"[The halves battle] is a bit the same as last year really. I have just got to focus on me and that's all I can control.
"My focus at the moment is obviously the Nines and then trial one the next week… this is my first Nines experience so I am pretty excited."
Meanwhile, veteran forward Adam Blair is expected to meet with club officials in coming weeks to decide whether or not he will take up a player option on his contract which would see him play beyond 2020.
How the Perth NRL Nines will work
Blair turns 34 in March and is now entering his 15th season at NRL level, having gone past the 300-game mark last year.
"Most probably before the season we will have to sit down with the club and my family and start talking about what the future looks like," Blair said.
"I try and put that to the back of my mind because I guess I don't want to finish yet, because I feel like I still have a lot to offer to the club or to players around me."
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