AFTER 10 months out injured, Castleford Tigers’ Frankie Mariano has warned himself not to act “like a headless chicken” if he does finally make his return tonight.
The second-row has endured a torrid time having needed a wrist reconstruction that saw him miss the start of last season and then, just five games after his comeback, suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
However, he could, at last, feature again when Castleford head to unbeaten Warrington Wolves, a prospect that clearly excites him.
“I’ve been out for 10 months so I’ve a lot of energy and passion coming out of me at the minute,” said the former Wakefield and Hull KR forward.
“I just need to calm down a bit as I’ve been getting giddy in training. It’s been a long journey and I have to be patient, still. I need to turn this excitement into focus rather than running around like a headless chicken and trying to do everything at once.”
The 28-year-old, who joined from Wakefield at the end of 2013, had been finding some of the best form of his career when the first injury struck.
“I felt I was confident and my fitness was the best it’s ever been so I was enjoying rugby at the time,” he recalled.
“But these things happen. I have to thank the medical, physio and conditioning teams as they have been great and the team spirit has got me through, too.
“At home I’d get little messages from the boys saying ‘keep your head high’ and my family have been brilliant as well. Now I just want to get back out there.
“All the tests have come back fine and the main thing was confidence and getting my head around coming off that left knee again. That’s what did it in the first place but training’s been great. I’ve watched every session, am down with all the plays and am confident when the time comes I’ll slot in nicely.”
Castleford are in need of a lift after a couple of defeats against St Helens and at home to Salford Red Devils sullied their positive start to the season.
Warrington have won five from five, too, and Mariano added: “It’s a big challenge for us. We’ve been off form but this is a great game for us to get that back and show what we’re capable of.”