St George Illawarra Dragons five-eighth Shaun Nona is counting down the days until he can commence his fulltime pre-season training with his new teammates.
The pivot is presently recovering from ankle surgery having undergone treatment during the off-season after suffering the ailment whilst representing former club the Illawarra Cutters in the NRL State Championship Grand Final.
Nona admits he mentally received a boost after training in the outdoors for the first time this pre-season and hopes he can catch-up on lost time so he can impress Head Coach Paul McGregor.
“I’ve started running and the signs are looking good,” said Nona.
“The physios are doing everything they can to get me right so I can start training properly with the boys.
“Mentally it was good just to run on the grass having been in the cardiovascular room for the past six weeks so it was good to be outdoors.
“There are a couple of us players currently doing straight line running as they overcome some injuries of their own so it was good just to be out there with them.”
Dragons halfback Drew Hutchison underwent surgery on his ACL after sustaining the injury during pre-season training earlier this month.
The local Albion Park-Oak Flats junior is expected to be sidelined for at least six months which has now opened up a new opportunity for players such as Nona to fill the vacated role and partner captain Gareth Widdop in the halves.
“I am very upset with what happened to Drew and injury is something you never want to see happen to anyone,” said Nona.
“However, there is an opportunity now opened up and I will definitely be putting my hand up for it.
“Hopefully when I am fit to return to fulltime training with the boys I can impress.
“If McGregor did give me that opportunity I would certainly grab it.”