On Saturday, Brendan Rixon will do something he didn’t think he’d be doing this year.
He’ll run out for Pirates in the Central North Rugby Union grand final against Walcha.
The back broke his arm in a match against the Rams in April and wasn’t all that hopeful of a return to the field in 2018.
“Not really. At the start, when I did the fracture, the rest of the year wasn’t looking good,” Rixon said.
“It wasn’t a full break, just a little fracture in the arm. I had to spend the time on the sidelines which was, at times, frustrating but I didn’t really know until probably a month ago I’d be possibly playing again.”
Rixon returned just before finals commenced against Barraba-Gwydir and said he’s settled back into the side since then.
He was itching to get back on the field and found it tough watching from the sidelines.
“Howie Webster’s been running the water and he – sort of – was forced into an early retirement with a neck injury and I can only imagine how he’s felt running water and being so involved,” Rixon said.
“It’s a little different when you can’t make any impact on game day.
“You can try and help when you can with Matty [Kelly] and the coaching staff and the committee but it’s not the same, in all honesty, as pulling on the boots.”
Rixon said “a few boys are talking about retiring at the end of the year” which provided the back with added motivation for Saturday’s big dance.
He said Pirates had a “big job to do” against the Rams who will be out to turn around last year’s grand final result.
“The team needs to perform. We can’t rely on any one person,” Rixon said.
“It’ll be pretty interesting. It’s meant to be pretty hot so our bench and fitness comes into it. Our bench is pretty reliable and a large contingent have played a fair bit of first grade this year.”