Mitchell Pearce says the toughest part of the three months he has spent on the sideline through injury this season has been failing to deliver what he was meant to on the field.
But that sense of helplessness is about to end with the Knights playmaker preparing for his long-awaited return against the Parramatta Eels next Friday night.
“I’m absolutely pumped to be back and I’m raring to go,” Pearce told the Newcastle Herald.
“I’ve worked really hard and done everything I could to get back as early as I could. I feel really strong and just itching to get out there.”
Pearce hasn’t played since rupturing his pectorial muscle in a tackle in the final minutes of the Knights’ 22-20 win over the Wests Tigers in Tamworth on April 21.
It’s the first major injury the 29-year-old has suffered during his career and not surprising, given his importance to the Knights, the impact has been severe.
With Pearce calling the shots, the club won four of its opening seven games and were one of the NRL’s early season surprise packets.
But his absence has seen the team’s fortunes plummet, with the Knights winning just two of nine games without him steering the ship.
It’s left them with next to no chance of figuring in the play-offs this season.
“It’s been a real punish watching on and not being out there with the boys,” he said.
“It’s been a really tough period for me because I’ve been lucky with injuries in the past and haven’t spent a whole lot of time out.
“It kicks you in the guts being a competitor and not playing. You feel like you are letting everyone down when you can’t contribute what you were brought here to do on the field.
“But, at the same time, I think I have also learnt a lot about myself and it has been a year of growth in a lot of ways.
“Everything happens for a reason so it’s about making up for some lost time now.
“I want to come back and give the boys a bit more direction. I’m not going to put any added pressure on myself but no-one is going to be hungrier for game time than I am.”
Pearce says the club’s final eight games this season are important.
“Irrespective of what the top eight looks like, we need to be setting some really solid foundations and building some winning momentum,”he said.
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