Comeback Kid Cherrington Ready For Shield
This article first appeared on NRL.com.
If you told Anthony Cherrington this time last year he would be back rubbing shoulders with some of the game's elite in the NRL, he would have taken it as a joke.
After making his NRL debut back in 2008, the former Rooster thought his career was all but over, with back-to-back season ending injuries to both knees limiting his promising rugby league career to just 19 games.
After a brief stint at Penrith, Cherrington moved to Redcliffe in 2015 and was a standout performer in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup, before choosing to return home to Sydney to be closer with family.
It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time for the Paddington junior, who was on the lookout for full-time work before South Sydney came calling.
"I moved back down to be with my partner, she's originally from Sydney - I was doing my own thing up in Queensland," Cherrington told NRL.com.
"I was actually going for a job interview with Qantas and the next minute I'm getting a contract with Souths.
"My manager Gavin ended up hearing about me moving back down and just organized a meeting with Madge (South Sydney coach Michael Maguire).
"The gods shined down on me and said here's your second chance."
The former Junior Kiwi representative will have the chance to push claims for a Round 1 spot in Maguire's side after being named on the bench for Sunday's Charity Shield clash.
After starting his career in the second row, a move up front is now on the cards and while both knees do pull up sore after the daily grind of training, there are no real injury concerns.
"They're good – it's been three or four years and I've played good consistent footy since then," he said.
"I'm getting through sessions and this is probably the most resilience I've shown in any pre-season and it's starting to show the last couple of weeks.
"I've been training up the front which will be good for me to get used to the pace again, even the trial on the weekend I found the pace a lot faster compared to Queensland Cup or playing in the NRL back in 2009.
"It's been one of the toughest in terms of there's so much strain on the body but it's been good – you don't realise how much your body can go through.
"Being here at Souths, it's a pretty tough club with their regime but it feels good knowing that at the start I was a bit scared about it but now I'm at the backend of it – my body feels strong.
"The game's changed and I'm just adjusting to that. I want to help out as much as I can and just be an NRL player again."