Castleford Tigers’ strong running forward Frankie Mariano is delighted to be back in training after a tough year in which he picked up two serious injuries.
After overcoming a wrist injury that needed an operation the former Wakefield Wildcats player then suffered knee ligament damage that has led to a reconstruction from which he is still recovering.
But he reports he is now well on the mend and is hoping to be fully fit in time for the start of the new Super League season in February.
He said: “I’m getting there and I am starting to run and get some strength back.
“It’s good now and the recovery is coming on well.
“I know I’ve got to be patient, but it would be great if I could play in pre-season.
“It’s a case of seeing how my progression goes and taking it one step at a time.
“But I’m really looking forward to getting back. Hopefully it will be a better year.
“It’s been tough this year. I had the wrist reconstruction at the back end of the 2014 season and that made me miss the beginning of the season then when I came back from that the knee went.”
Mariano reported back for pre-season training a few days after his team-mates as he was granted more time off after getting married and going on honeymoon in America. But he has been working hard throughout the off-season to make sure he was ready to join the Tigers players in full training as soon as possible.
He said: I already had my off-season during the season so I was working hard when everyone else was resting.
“I have kept training all the time, doing physio and rehab and looking after my knee.
“Now it’s the pre-season it’s the time I can start doing some things.”
Mariano is grateful to team-mates who kept his spirits up during his long injury lay-off.
He added: “I have always been around the boys and they’ve been keeping my spirits high.
“Fortunately I have great family and friends as well and they helped me through it.
“Being told I’d be out for nine months was difficult. But that’s part and parcel of rugby league and you have to take it on the chin.
“The boys here are amazing and now I am back in full training it’s really exciting.”