The 2016 season was a rollercoaster ride for young half Brock Lamb, as he played in the Auckland Nines, made his NRL debut and then had a season-ending ankle injury three games later.
While going under the knife for his ankle, Lamb also had minor surgery on his shoulder after he dislocated it in a pre-season trial match.
He returns for the 2017 pre-season with a fresh body, and says he has learned some lessons along the way.
“I had shoulder surgery about 16 weeks ago now, I dislocated it at the start of the year in the trial match and played the rest of the game unaware of what I’d done to it,” the 19-year-old five-eighth explained.
“I had the ankle surgery done three or four days before that, and that was a syndesmosis injury.
“I had to get that all tied back together, but I’m all good now and with all the surgery out of the way hopefully I have a good year this year.”
It has been a long road to recovery for Lamb, as he was restricted from running for weeks and was never going to return in time to play some matches at the end of the season.
He has analysed plenty of playing vision though, and has also learnt about the importance of recovery and preparation of the body.
“I think the surgeries have actually helped me realise what you’ve got to do for recovery and how to prepare your body, and what you need to do to come back in shape,” Lamb said.
“This pre-season I’ll be focusing on the rehab and the recovery, because it’s key to what we do.
“I’m really going to try to prepare my body to recover the right way and to be as professional as I can.”
Lamb is heading into his second NRL pre-season now, and wants to build on his three NRL appearances from 2016.
“Obviously I have the goal to play as many first grade games as possible, but I’m also hoping I can just stay on the park and play some consistent footy.”