St George Illawarra forward Tyson Frizell is likely to continue wearing a protective cup until the end of the season for peace of mind after recovering from surgery for a ruptured testicle.
Frizell, who required seven stitches after sustaining the injury in the opening-round loss to North Queensland, returned just three weeks later and has appeared unaffected as he displayed the form which has ensured he is one of the first players picked for NSW and Australia.
The 27-year-old second-rower said he should soon be able to play without the protector, more commonly worn in UFC or ice hockey, but it had given him confidence and he now planned to wear it for the rest of the season.
“It is a little bit uncomfortable during training but once you get out and start playing you don’t really worry about it,” Frizell said as he joined St George Illawarra team-mates for a private tour of the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park ahead of Thursday’s annual clash with Sydney Roosters at the SCG.
“I will probably end up playing in it for the rest of the year just for my head. I know it is well protected and I will probably only have to wear it for another two or three more weeks but for myself I just want to wear it.”
Despite concerns from commentators when he has taken a knock during matches, Frizell said he recovered quickly from the surgery and had not encountered any further problems.
“It was probably a week before I could move freely and it was pretty sore for two weeks and then it just come good so I sort of knew I was ready to play and just had to get medically cleared,” he said.
"I just needed to get my mental state right but I was all fine once I spoke to the specialist.
“It is not an issue and it doesn’t play on my mind at all during the games. I get asked a lot about whether I had been hit again but I am probably better protected than most of the other boys now, wearing the guard.”
Frizell said he was looking forward to playing the Roosters on Thursday and going head to head with NSW and Australian second-row partner Boyd Cordner.
The Roosters have won their last five consecutive matches, including last Friday night’s golden point defeat of Melbourne, while the Dragons have triumphed in their past four games.
“They are probably the standout team with their performances so far but with a short preparation we can really only focus on ourselves as a team,” Frizell said.
“We are going to be up for the game and they are going to be up for the game.
“I think if we played anyone on ANZAC Day we would rise to the occasion. You could be playing the team on the bottom of the ladder but everyone finds something extra and ANZAC Day is all about mateship so everyone wants to play for their mates and do everything they can.
“We get to play at the SCG. I have only played there a couple of times and never played before a packed crowd there so it will be a pretty special given the history of the ground.”