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'Couldn't walk some days': Mulitalo defies season-ending prognosis

If Ronaldo Mulitalo had have gone down the path offered by the first two specialists he consulted, the Sharks winger would have undergone season-ending knee surgery.

The 21-year-old, who returned after a six-match absence with two tries in a last-start win over the Titans, said he suffered a knee divot - resulting in a cartilage "chip" - against the Roosters in round five.

After about a month of weighing his options, a crestfallen Mulitalo had all but accepted he wouldn't play again in 2021. He "couldn't even walk some days" and was looking for an operation date.

Luckily, the rising Cronulla star sought one more opinion.

"I saw the third [specialist] and he said, 'Nah mate, let's just sit on it and we'll see how we go'," Mulitalo told

Sharks v Panthers - Round 14

"He put it into simple terms and he told us some previous players that have done the same thing and carried on.

"I went with that and I'm still kicking on ... But it was tough. I cried a couple of times in that [first] week knowing that I worked so hard in the pre-season for my season to be cut short after five rounds.

"The good thing is the results are here and I've come out the other end. Hopefully, surgery at the end of the year and it'll be sweet."

Mulitalo has endured knee problems in the past but initially thought he'd only miss a "week or two" with his latest injury.

Mulitalo has a double as the Sharks extend their lead

"I got the news that it was pretty bad and I gave my Mum a call. I was pretty upset," the one-time Samoan international said.

"That first month was probably the toughest bit. I was challenged mentally and had those little battles but everything else was sweet.

"We were trying to look for a surgery time and everything, so I just had kind of given up, like, 'f---, this is it'."

As Mulitalo explained it, "there was something with a divot in my knee where the cartilage is a bit chipped off. What they needed to do was drill a couple of holes in there to bleed it and create another little cartilage bit to help my knee so it wasn't bone-on-bone action.

"I think there was floating tissue as well that was locking my knee up," the proud Ipswich product added. "It was a pretty bad time for myself and the injury. I had a couple of weeks to sort myself out."

Mulitalo thanked Sharks physio Dave Garrick and high-performance manager Nathan Pickworth for their work in his rehab process.

However, he'll require ongoing treatment to play each week.

Match Highlights: Sharks v Titans

"I'll try and manage it throughout the year. I can't do back-to-back [training] days, which is a bit tough," Mulitalo said in the lead-up to facing the Panthers at Netstrata Jubilee Oval on Friday night.

"You lose that aspect of training. But where I can be better, I will be better.

"That's what I'm looking forward to and whatever gets me back on the paddock week in, week out I'll be happy with."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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