By Kenny Andres
For anyone who would have been down to BMD Kougari Oval in the last seven months, chances are you would have seen Aaron Rockley putting in the extra hours on his rehab to expedite his return to the Red and Green.
Until last Saturday, a torn labrum had forced front row forward Rockley to watch from the sidelines in 2018 as the big man patiently worked through his rehabilitation.
It’s the painful unseen journey that happens behind rugby league players at some point, the labouring of fixing the body outside of regular training hours and merely watching on, unable to help contribute on the field.
“It’s tough,” explained Rockley.
“There’s not much you can do but watch and be around the club and try to get the boys back up ready for next week.”
All his patience and hard work has finally paid off, with Rockley churning out an impressive 45 minutes in his long awaited return last week in the BRL A Grade side that defeated the Easts Tigers.
Rockley attributes his successful return to the field to a number of off-field staff at the Seagulls.
“I’ve pretty much called BT [Head Rehab Coach Brendan Turnbull] my personal trainer (during this period).
“Between him and Siz [High Performance Manager Ben Czislowski] and (team physio) Kath Mitchell, they’ve done a lot of work to get me right.”
In what has effectively been an extended pre-season for the prop forward, one silver lining has been what the extra time has allowed him to do for the rest of his body.
“I feel fitter and stronger.
“Along with a heap of conditioning, I really got to concentrate on some weights and I’ve dropped a fair few kilos as well.”
A regular starter in 2017, Aaron Rockley might not have to wait long for a return to the Intrust Super Cup, with coach Adam Brideson naming him on an extended bench for this weekend’s clash with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.