After managing a toe injury that’s had him sidelined since Round 9, Newcastle Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen has travelled with the team to Brisbane with the hope of playing in Friday night’s match at Suncorp Stadium.
With a decision still up in the air, the five-eighth is optimistic, yet cautious about his possible return to the field.
“I have to see how I pull up tomorrow. It’s only the first week I’ve been running full time,” he said before heading north on Thursday.
Mullen completed the team’s final training session on Thursday after re-joining the squad on the training paddock at the beginning of the week.
“It’s feeling not too bad. There’s obviously still the break there and I might need surgery, but I’m just trying to delay it and see if I can play,” he said.
“I will travel up with the team and do the normal stuff and will prepare like I’m playing.
“It’s a day-by-day thing.
“I have to see how it pulls up in the morning. If it pulls up all right, then I’ll play and if not, Carlos (Tuimavave) is here as well.
“He has been playing and training in the number six and will wait to see what happens.”
The road to recovery has been a tedious one for the energetic half who has undergone specialist care to first determine the extent of the injury before undergoing treatment.
“I have been in a boot for the past five to six weeks to see how I was going to heal,” he explained.
“I went on our physio’s AlterG machine which lifts your hips up and lets you run at 60 per cent of your body weight.
“I’ve been on the field this week and changed my orthotics around and have done a few different things.
“It’s feeling alright at the moment but there is still an injury there and I’m not going to take the field and put the team under pressure by an early interchange if I have to come off, so I have to be smart about it.”
The Round 16 match provides the Knights another valuable opportunity to begin to set their season right.
“This is my 11th year at the Club and we have been through some hard times, but this is up there,” he said.
“We have had a lot of injuries, but there are no excuses. It’s the players that need to perform on the day.
“The coaches have been great, it’s up to us execute it."
While the two sides sit at opposite ends of the competition ladder, a challenging match at Suncorp Stadium provides the Knights even more motivation to fire according to Mullen.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go up there and give it everything that we’ve got,” he said.
“Hopefully we can go up there and surprise them and get a win.
“And hopefully I can play tomorrow night, but as I said I’m not going to put the team in a bad situation where I come off early.
“I have to be confident in myself that I can get through the game.”