Tohu Harris itching to get on the field this weekend

By James Perry

Tohu Harris says the past eight years have been mentally challenging for him as he recovered from the leg injury that cut his 2019 NRL season short.

But having recovered, he can't wait to get back on the field in this Saturday's season opener against the Knights.

"Pre-season was really good and was excited to get there and train with the team again and stuff like that. But to be able to play a game this weekend I can't get out there quick enough," he told Te Ao Māori.

A bone fracture to his leg in the Round 14 clash against the Gold Coast Titans saw the 148 game veteran miss the rest of the season. It was a stress fracture in his leg that he had originally sustained nearly 4 years earlier but had been managing.

Despite the long lay off last season, he doesn't regret playing with the injury and not taking time off earlier to give it time to heal.

"It wasn't one that you could have surgery on cause the bone hadn't cracked in half. It was like a little slither on top so, they would've had to break the bone themselves and then would've essentially been a whole season. 

"Managing it was working very well till something went wrong last year and ended up breaking," he says.

He is expected to be playing on the right flank this season, and Harris is excited by the prospect of playing alongside the hulking David Fusitu'a who is making the switch from the wing to the centres. Harris says Fusitu'a has developed nicely in his new role during the off-season.

"[Fusitu'a] picked it up really quickly. In terms of attack sort of my job is to help him get in space really, however that is.

"If he's not getting in space, then I'm probably not doing my job, so yeah I think that's the biggest challenge is seeing the big man in space." 

Into his third season with the New Zealand club, Harris says the club is continuing to make improvements off the field but wants to see an improved performance on the field in 2020, especially at their Mt Smart Stadium homeground.

"I feel like there's been too many times where our we've just had a lack of effort and we've been too soft when we've played games here, and that probably starts with our preparation off the field," he says.

Harris explains one thing the team is continuing to work on, and develop, is holding each other to account. Harris learned the importance of accountability in creating a winning environment during his time at the Melbourne Storm.

"The best teams in this competition, they will give each other feedback, however, they will deliver it.

"But it's only to make them, make each other better. I think that's one thing that we still need to take steps getting is being comfortable with telling one of your best mates that he needs to be better and all that sort of stuff."

His experience and leadership will be welcomed relief for Stephen Kearney and the Warriors as a depleted forward pack look for the perfect start this weekend against the Knights on Saturday night.